NSW spending back at pre-lockdown levels

  • By Zilla Efrat

Spending in NSW rebounded sharply after the lifting of some lockdown restrictions last Monday, according to Commonwealth Bank’s weekly credit and debit card spending data.

Week on week card spending rose 12.3 per cent in NSW in the week to Friday 15 October, leading to an overall 6.2 per cent increase in national card spending, says CBA.

“Spending in NSW has risen back to the same levels seen leading up to the lockdown,” says CBA chief economist, Stephen Halmarick.

“Sharp spending increases in NSW across many categories and the reopening bounce confirms there was strong pent-up demand for spending on services.

NSW card spending was also 17 per cent higher than the corresponding week in 2019, considered the last “normal” year prior to the start of COVID-19.

Spending on both goods and services rose, with sharp rises in spending on personal care, eating and drinking out and clothing. As people flocked to dine out at restaurants, cafes and pubs, spending on food and alcoholic goods for consumption at home fell.

In-store spending lifted strongly and there was a subsequent dip in online spending. The spending rebound was sharper in metro NSW than regional NSW as some regional communities had already exited lockdown.

“Spending in Victoria also continued to rise ahead of the lifting of restrictions and with lockdowns there lifting from Thursday, we expect to see a further increase in Victorian spending in next week’s card spending report,” says Halmarick.

“We would also expect to see a similar trend in ACT spending next week, with the ACT exiting lockdown last Friday. Conversely, some softness in spending may be evident in Tasmania, given the snap lockdown in parts of the state,” says Halmarick.

CBA’s card spending data covers around 40 per cent of consumer payments transactions in Australia and is the nation’s largest and fastest consumer spending data set.