Bankwest’s latest Spend Trends report has shown the new financial year has brought welcomed stability for Western Australians, with the cost-of-living squeeze appearing to ease across almost all sectors.
Bankwest’s Spend Trends report tracks WA customer credit and debit activity to identify insights into community responses to economic conditions, with consistent year-on-year value increases appearing to finally slow.
The number of customers spending in travel-related sectors continued to grow year-on-year, but it was the only category that did so in double-figure increases, with customers steady across the board for all other sectors.
The data also importantly showed the average value of transactions had stabilised across most sectors, with only Mail Order (online shopping, 95%) and Electric Appliance (32%) spending costing significantly more year-on-year.
Most of the remaining 22 sectors showed a single-figure change in the average value of transactions year-on-year, suggesting prices were stabilising or even reducing, as was the case at the bowser for Service Stations (-11%).
The difference between the growth in the average value (10%) and volume (3%) of transactions year-on-year, which has been a gauge for cost-of-living pressures, remained close to parity for the fifth consecutive month.
Parity in the movement of the two figures would be the expectation in an environment of normal cost-of-living.
Transaction volumes for the travel sector continued to grow year-on-year, however, previous analysis showed the spending was underpinned and dominated by older Western Australians less affected by economic pressures.
Travel Agency (50%), Airline (29%), Hotel/Motel (29%), Other Transport (27%), and Auto Rental (10%) transaction volumes all increased year-on-year, but they were outweighed by the majority of sectors either declining or stalling.
Year-on-year transaction volumes showed the majority of Western Australians had pulled right back on discretionary sectors, such as Department Stores (-13%), Sporting/Toy Stores (-9%), and Electric Appliances (-7%).
Bankwest General Manager Products and Digital Services Peter Bouhlas said: “Western Australians have faced cost-of-living pressures across multiple fronts, but these figures suggest some of those pressures could be easing.
“The number of customers spending continues to stall or contract across most sectors and we’re now seeing the average value of transactions similarly decline as that demand for goods and services reduces.
“These figures do not suggest the end of the cost-of-living pressures that have been setting in for the past year is in sight, but they do show the majority of Western Australians are making clear choices on where they spend.
“The year-on-year stability in the number of customers transacting, from the essential Food Stores to discretionary sectors such as Clothing Stores, suggests customers are being more discerning in managing their home budget.
“Cost-of-living pressures, of course, remain challenging for many people and we urge any Bankwest customers who feel they need support to contact us as soon as possible so we can work through their unique circumstances."