Border no barrier as West Aussies take off for Christmas

13 December 2021

A Bankwest Spend Trends analysis of Western Australian spending habits in the lead-up to the holiday period has identified a two-fold surge in travel expenditure, potentially at the expense of splurging on electrical goods.

Bankwest’s analysis looked at WA customer credit and debit transactions from November to the first week of December, with a year-on-year comparison to provide insights into economic trends as Christmas draws near.

The data highlighted an overall increase in the value (13%) and volume (10%) of West Australians’ spending year-on-year, with the travel sector among the beneficiaries.

The data showed a 108 per cent increase in the value of spend on Travel Agencies, while Airlines rose 22 per cent.

The two categories also topped the growth charts for the volume of transactions year-on-year, with Travel Agencies recording an 82 per cent surge, and Airlines a 36 per cent increase.

The annual rush to deck the halls also showed up in the data, with the volume of transactions at Discount Stores this year surging 32 per cent from November to the first week of December.

The category is comprised of retailers well-known for stocking a variety of Christmas decorations and experiences the surge each year, peaking the week of Christmas, before declining rapidly over a fortnight.

The surprise slider of 2021 was Electrical Appliance retailers, which fell from third to fifth in Top 5 spending value, and out of the Top 5 altogether for volume year-on-year, which could suggest a cooling from its pandemic surge.

The category showed a small growth (4%) in the value of spend but had a significant decline of 26 per cent in the volume of transactions year-on-year, suggesting customers were still buying big-ticket items, but far fewer of them.

Online purchases appeared to be a go-to for many WA Christmas shoppers, with Other Retail – which had most of its spend from online payment platforms, marketplaces, and retailers – topping all categories in value and volume.

The Christmas staple of clothes and pyjamas also appears set for a return this year, with Clothing Stores among the Top 5 for WA spending in both value and volume.

Interior Furnishings, which includes hardware retailers also offering interior goods, was also among the leaders in value and volume of spend, as people prepare for the entertaining season and potentially stock up on gift cards.

Bankwest Chief Customer Officer Paul Vivian said: “The world has been through a lot the past two years and travel concerns for many looks to be waning compared to the idea of another Christmas apart from family and friends.

“WA is preparing to open its borders to the rest of the country and the world, so the surge in travel could be from those making future plans or travelling to see loved ones with the expectation it will soon be far easier to return.

“However, it’s also important to remember how hard the travel sector was hit and, while the year-on-year increases are a positive sign, the actual dollar value flowing into those businesses is still well below pre-pandemic levels.

“There is also some humour in these figures, as they put some of our common holiday habits front-and-centre, from stocking up on decorations, to gifts of clothes, and the ever-present gift card to a certain hardware store.

“On behalf of Bankwest, I wish a Merry Christmas to those who celebrate it, and a prosperous 2022.”

Overall change year-on-year for the analysis period

Swipe
Nov – first week of Dec (inclusive)
  Value
Volume
2020 v 2021
13%
10%
Swipe

Top 5 sectors by...

Swipe
Nov – first week of Dec (inclusive)
Value of Transactions
2020
Value of Transactions
2021
Volume of Transactions
2020
Volume of Transactions
2021
Other retail
Other retail
Other retail
Other retail
Interior furnishings Service stations Service stations Service stations
Electrical appliance Interior furnishings Discount stores Discount stores
Clothing stores Clothing stores Electrical appliance Clothing stores
Service stations Electrical appliance Interior furnishings Interior furnishings
Swipe

Top 5 sectors by...

Swipe
Nov – first week of Dec (inclusive)
Biggest Growth in Value
2020 v 2021
Smallest Growth in Value
2020 v 2021
Biggest Growth in Volume
2020 v 2021
Smallest Growth in Volume
2020 v 2021
Travel agencies
108%
Repair shops
-27%
Travel agencies
82%
Electrical appliance
-26%
Service stations
42%
Discount stores
-5%
Airline
36%
Repair shops
-5%
Hardware
31%
Vehicles
4%
Hardware
35%
Interior furnishings
-2%
Department stores
27%
Quasi cash
4%
Department stores
35%
Vehicles
-1%
Airline
22%
Electrical appliance
4%
Hotel/motel
26%
Discount stores
-1%
Swipe

Sector examples

Swipe
Sector Examples
Airlines Self-explanatory
Department stores Large department stores and chains, not including discount department stores
Hardware Hardware retailers and chains, landscaping specialists, home DIY retailers
Hotels/motels Self-explanatory
Other retail Online marketplaces, online arms of bricks-and-mortar retailers, discount department stores, liquor stores
Repair shops Cobblers, tailors, electrical appliance repairs, watchmakers, mobile phone repairs
Service stations Self-explanatory
Travel agencies Self-explanatory (online and bricks-and-mortar)
Vehicles Automotive dealerships, automotive and car care accessory retailers, repairs and servicing
Swipe

About Bankwest
Bankwest’s vision is to deliver brilliant customer experiences every day and our purpose is to improve the financial wellbeing of our customers and communities. Bankwest provides personal and business banking solutions 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.

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