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Bad news for business: Aussie spending habits change

Adrian Flores
Adrian Flores
29 June 2020 2 minute readShare
Aussie spending habits change

New government statistics reveal that the easing of COVID-19 lockdown restrictions will lead to a recovery in household spending in some areas but also remain low in others.

The latest data from the Household Impacts of COVID-19 Survey from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) found that consumers who had reduced spending on items including eating out and recreational activities due to COVID-19 are expecting this to increase when restrictions ease.

However, people who had spent less on items including household furnishings, clothing and footwear expected this to remain at lower levels.

ABS head of household surveys Michelle Marquardt said the survey showed a mixed picture of what Australians plan to spend their money on once restrictions ease.

“Many Australians reported decreased spending on eating out (87 per cent), childcare fees (85 per cent), recreation or leisure (79 per cent), public transport (73 per cent) and personal care (64 per cent),” Ms Marquardt said.

“Of these people, a majority expected to increase their spending on recreational activities (74 per cent), eating out (74 per cent), private transport (73 per cent), personal care (70 per cent), childcare (66 per cent) and public transport (55 per cent).

“On the other hand, the majority of Australians who had reduced expenditure on household furnishings (72 per cent) and clothing and footwear (52 per cent) expected to continue to spend lower amounts on these items as COVID-19 restrictions ease.”

Research from Ferratum Group found that COVID-19 has had numerous implications on consumer spending in Australia, with 39 per cent of respondents reporting cutting back on spending and 49 per cent indicating they are more cautious of how they spend their money due to the current economic situation.

The survey found that 26 per cent of Australian respondents indicated being concerned about losing their job and 33 per cent had experienced a reduction in salary due to COVID-19. 

Australians also indicated they would spend much less of their salaries in June, July and August compared to countries in the Northern Hemisphere.

In addition, 61 per cent cancelled all travel plans, 21 per cent cancelled their plans of buying a car this year, and 9 per cent have delayed purchasing a new home or apartment. 

Ferratum Australia country manager James Logan said the lower figure may be reflective of spending during the winter months or the impact of international travel restrictions.

“With non-essential travel bans still in place for overseas, our data shows that many Australians have cancelled their travel plans, with 70 per cent of Australian respondents indicating that they do not intend to travel in 2020,” Mr Logan said.

“It remains to be seen if Australians will replace European travel plans with local ones as this may impact our spending choices.” 

The ABS survey also found that more than half (55 per cent) were planning to go on a domestic holiday once restrictions are lifted while less than a third (29 per cent) were planning an international holiday.

Of those planning a domestic holiday, 20 per cent intended to go within the following month and a further two-thirds (68 per cent) within the following six months. Meanwhile, those planning international travel were more likely to intend to travel within six to 12 months (44 per cent) or later (31 per cent).

Bad news for business: Aussie spending habits change
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Adrian Flores
Adrian Flores

Adrian Flores is the deputy editor of MyBusiness. Before that, he was the deputy editor for SMSF Adviser as well as features editor for ifa (Independent Financial Adviser), InvestorDaily, Risk Adviser, Fintech Business and Adviser Innovation.

You can email Adrian at [email protected].

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