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.”