Jet-setting Baby Boomers are showing little sign of packing away the passport, while Millennials rein in spending, with Bankwest’s latest Spend Trends data highlighting a stark contrast in the financial realities of the generations.
Bankwest’s Spend Trends report tracks WA customer credit and debit activity to identify insights into community responses to economic conditions, with August’s results showing stalled spending activity for consecutive months.
However, while August suggested most Western Australians adapted to challenging economic conditions by reining in spending, older consumers continued to hit the skies.
The year-on-year transaction value for Airlines grew by 10 per cent for Baby Boomers in August — the only generation to grow — compared to a contraction in the sector for Gen X (-6%), Millennials (-2%), and Gen Z (-6%).
However, Travel Agencies and Airlines featured in the Top 3 for the number of customers transacting year-on-year for every generation, indicating more people were travelling — but only Boomers were spending more in doing so.
There were signs the spending of older Western Australians was slowing, though, with the number of customers transacting year-on-year down 2.6 per cent — slower than Gen X (-4.5%) and Millennials (-4.8%), but still a decline.
The current financial environment clearly weighed heaviest on Millennials — the current generation of homebuyers.
The number of Millennials transacting year-on-year fell by 4.8 per cent – the most of the three primary spending generations — while their average transaction value (7.7%) and volume (0.4%) were among the lowest.
Spending as a whole stalled for another month, with the number of customers transacting declining by 1.5 per cent year-on-year, the value of transactions maintaining single-figure growth (9%), and volumes stable (2%).
The number of customers spending month-on-month highlighted the response of Western Australians to tightening budgets, with Education (16%) the only sector to grow by double figures, while 14 of the 25 sectors declined.
The return of increased petrol prices had Service Stations again feature in the top sectors for spend, with month-on-month (5%) and year-on-year (6%) transaction value outpacing the number of customers transacting (both 3%).
The difference between the growth in the average value (9%) and volume (2%) of transactions year-on-year, which has been a gauge for cost-of-living pressures, remained close to parity for the sixth consecutive month.
However, Electric Appliance retailers continued to be the flagbearer of cost-of-living pressures, bucking the parity trend with a 41 per cent year-on-year difference between the volume (-14%) and value (28%) of transactions.
Bankwest General Manager Products and Digital Services Peter Bouhlas said: “Bankwest’s Spend Trends figures for Western Australia align with broader economic commentary on stabilising cost-of-living pressures.
"We continue to see the value of spend on Travel grow for older Western Australians, but there are signs even Baby Boomers are reducing their activity overall, even if it is at a slower rate than other generations.
"We can see the impact of the current financial environment is weighing on some households, who are clearly spending less in volume, but also spending less in each transaction, indicating they’re choosing cheaper options.
"All customers will be experiencing cost-of-living pressures differently and we urge any customer concerned about their financial situation to get in touch with us as soon as possible, so we can work with their individual needs."