Barbers a cut above the rest, as restrictions lift in nick of time

11 May 2020

The latest Bankwest Spend Trends data has unearthed signs of a business rebound, with barber and beauty shops leading the charge as restrictions within Western Australia begin easing.

Bankwest’s Spend Trends series compares fortnightly merchant data against a pre-coronavirus period, to help illustrate how the WA community and businesses adapt to the COVID-19 impact.

Additional analysis also compared recent trends to the first week of April – when lowest overall turnover was recorded – to identify the business sectors beginning to reverse their decline.

Barber and beauty shops, having fallen 75 per cent in turnover by the peak of coronavirus measures, rebounded 228 per cent when comparing the first week of May to first week of April.

The sector led the signs of recovery, with jewellery stores (43%), doctors (41%) and restaurants and dining out (39%) also increasing turnover, but all are yet to return to pre-COVID levels.

However, the overall impact of COVID-19 on WA businesses remained evident when comparing the recent turnover of merchants (29 Apr-5 May) to the pre-coronavirus period (22-28 Feb).

The impact on in-person businesses continued as ‘educational services’ (88%) and ‘civic and social associations’ (79%) entered the Top 5 merchants most negatively impacted by coronavirus.

The sectors comprise of merchants heavily reliant on other businesses, such as resource sector training and union groups, or involving person-to-person activities, such as community centres.

Sectors relating to home improvements, maintenance, redecorations and renovations continued to dominate the growth group amidst COVID-19, with furniture stores (143%) topping the period.

Bankwest Chief Customer Officer Paul Vivian said the emerging recovery of some sectors would hopefully prove an encouraging sign for businesses still experiencing an ongoing toll.

“When preventative measures came into effect, some sectors were immediately impacted, but this data shows others have suffered the same damage, just more drawn-out,” he said.

“The lifting of restrictions on gatherings of 10 people, combined with expected further easing, could prove a timely saviour for some of those businesses that rely on in-person trading.

“We’re also starting to see the positive impacts on businesses when restrictions do lift, which must provide some hope and promise for those in the community facing challenging times.”

About Bankwest
Bankwest’s vision is to deliver brilliant customer experiences that matter and our purpose is to improve the financial wellbeing of our customers and communities. Bankwest provides personal and business banking solutions for more than 1.1 million customers across Australia. Our customers enjoy access to an extensive network of branches and business centres, direct and third-party distribution channels, agencies and electronic banking facilities, as well as 24-hour banking on the telephone, internet and the Bankwest App. Bankwest, a division of Commonwealth Bank of Australia ABN 48 123 123 124 AFSL/Australian credit license 234945.

Overall Covid-19 Impact

Top 5 merchants by % growth (29 Apr-5 May against pre-Coronavirus 22-28 Feb)
Rank Sector % Growth
1 Furniture stores 143
2 Nurseries, lawn and garden supplies 65
3 Bicycle shops 64
4 Swimming pools and supplies 58
5 Automotive tyre stores 46
Top 5 merchants by % decline (29 Apr-5 May against pre-Coronavirus 22-28 Feb)
Rank Sector % Decline
1 Amusement parks
2 Misc recreation services (sports stadiums, gyms, sports clubs, mini golf, laser tag)
3 Travel agencies and tour operators
4 Educational services (tertiary education [universities and agricultural colleges], registered training organisations [such as first aid course facilitators, resource sector training providers, driving schools, flight schools, music schools])
5 Civic and social associations (senior citizen/ community centres, cultural societies, education-related associations [university student guilds, school P+C], union groups, recreational activity groups [such as hiking/sailing clubs])

Road to recovery

Top 5 merchants by % growth (29 Apr-5 May against lowest turnover period 1-7 Apr) *
Rank Sector COVID drop % (22-28 Feb v 1-7 Apr)
% Growth post-COVID drop (1-7 Apr v 29 Apr-5 May) 
1 Barber and beauty shops -75 228
2 Jewellery stores
-67 43
3 Doctors
-55 41
4 Restaurants and dining out
-82 39
5 Fast food restaurants -54 36
* NB: Excludes sectors that experienced less than 50% drop in turnover from pre-COVID to first week of April.

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