Bankwest’s latest Spend Trends analysis has highlighted the cost-of-living crunch facing Western Australians, with spending having stagnated for the third consecutive month in the face of increasing financial headwinds.
Bankwest’s Spend Trends report tracks WA customer credit and debit activity to identify insights into community responses to economic conditions, with transactions activity having stalled for the third consecutive month.
The number of customers transacting (2%), and the value (1%) and volume (0%) of those transactions in May either plateaued or showed negligible signs of growth month-on-month, as the community put the skids on spending.
Even the year-on-year figures were negligible and in single-figure growth, indicating the extent of hip-pocket strain.
Education was the only sector to show significant growth in the number of customers transacting (55%) and the volume of transactions (23%) month-on-month, but the increase was expected with the school term resuming.
All other sectors showed negligible growth or declines in the number of customers transacting, with discretionary sectors feeling the squeeze, as shown by Electrical Appliance retailers (5% month-on-month; -29% year-on-year).
The brakes were even applied in the travel sector, which had been experiencing a revival following the pandemic, with Airline, Travel Agency, and Auto Rental all stalling or declining in spending volumes month-on-month.
Volumes in sectors associated with essentials, such as Food Stores/Warehouses and Pharmacies, remained steady month-on-month and year-on-year, suggesting tightened purse strings had little room left for tightening.
The year-on-year difference between the value (9%) and volume (6%) of transactions, which has been an indicator of cost-of-living pressures over the past year, remained aligned, suggesting the imbalance continued to ease.
Bankwest General Manager Everyday Banking Philippa Costanzo said: “The current economic environment is one in which many Western Australians are feeling challenged, and these Spend Trends figures highlight that.
“We can see that there is very little spending activity month-on-month in any sector unless it aligns with an expected milestone, such as the growth of Education with the resumption of the school year.
“Even those sectors that have experienced growth in the number of customers transacting, or the value or volume of those transactions, would likely be hesitant to label it ‘growth’, given the small nature of the increases.
“We want Bankwest customers to know that we’re here to support them and, if they are experiencing financial hardship or are concerned that they could in the future, we urge them contact us as soon as possible.”