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Stimulus, ERS pushes spending up 17%

New research has demonstrated the impact of the government's stimulus package and early release of superannuation program, with a sharp uptick in consumer spending.

The data from illion and AlphaBeta, part of Accenture, found consumer spending in Australia was up 17%.

However, so much of this increase came from people taking out their super and receiving bonus $750 payments that without these stimulus measures there would have actually been a decrease in spending.

When those who were eligible for the stimulus and received super were removed from the sample, average spending was actually 2% below normal levels.

The data covers July 6-12, including four days of the Melbourne lockdown and NSW border closure.

By comparing now to seven weeks ago, when restrictions to curb the spread of COVID-19 were in place all around the country, the impact of the easing of restrictions on consumer spending can clearly be seen.

Seven weeks ago travel spending was down 64% on normal levels in Australia, now it's down just 6% on normal levels. Rideshare spending was down 34% and now is down 13%.

In Victoria, unsurprisingly, travel and rideshare spending has taken a dive again as Melbourne has been forced into another lockdown to fight a second wave of COVID-19.

Victorian travel spending was down 77% seven weeks ago and now is down 45%. Rideshare spending remains down 19% compared to 35% seven weeks ago.

Meanwhile, some sectors saw a COVID-19 boost that is still being enjoyed. Seven weeks ago spending on online gambling was up 142% on normal levels as pubs clubs were forced to shutter. Now, online gambling is still up 51% on normal levels.

Those forced to work from home also appear to be continuing to fork out. Seven weeks ago spending on furniture and office supplies was up 138% on normal levels, now it's still up 114%.

"Consumer spending across all states except Victoria has skyrocketed and this is due to stimulus and super payments," said AlphaBeta director Andrew Charlton.

"The most interesting part of this data is that while super and stimulus payments have accelerated spending, we are now also seeing spending creep up to pre-COVID levels from those who did not receive such support."

Read our full COVID-19 news coverage and analysis here.

Read more: AlphaBetaERSAccentureAndrew Charlton
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