Spend Trends reveals contrasting tale of two recoveries in WA

31 January 2021

Bankwest’s latest Spend Trends data has painted an intriguing picture of post-pandemic lockdown WA, with the resumption of gatherings and events contrasted by Counselling Services among the Top 5 growth sectors.

Bankwest’s Spend Trends analysis looked at a quarter-to-quarter comparison of business turnover for the current financial year (Q2 Oct-Dec v Q1 Jul-Sep), to provide insights into how the WA economy is faring.

The analysis also included a year-on-year snapshot, to identify the extreme ends of business performance.

Religious Organisations (180%) entered the Top 5 for increased turnover for the first time since Spend Trends began last April and combined with Florists Supplies & Nursery Stock (141%) to offer an interesting rationale.
Religious Organisations were hit hard amidst COVID measures, with Apr-Jun turnover – the peak of the pandemic – down 52 per cent year-on-year, as limits disrupted congregations, weddings, and revenue.

However, the Spend Trends data suggested the resumption of weddings amidst WA’s freedom of movement and warmer weather – engaging churches and florists alike – had both sectors exceed 2019 turnover levels.

The data also suggested the mounting toll the pandemic was taking on people’s mental health, as Counselling Services appeared in the Top 5 for year-on-year growth (equal-fifth) for the first time, up 45 per cent.

The year-on-year analysis also highlighted the plight of those sectors continuing to deal with the impacts of COVID-19, despite many areas of WA returning to a pre-pandemic way of life.

Travel Agents & Tour Operators remained worst hit, with Oct-Dec turnover down almost 80 per cent year-on-year, with little opportunity for improvement while international and domestic restrictions remain in place.

Cinemas experienced a 45 per cent drop in year-on-year turnover, as studios bypassed the usual pipeline and sent blockbusters directly to streaming services, with audiences having adapted to a life of at-home viewing.

A potential digital shift triggered by months of lockdown had Computer Software Stores fall 42 per cent year-on-year, while Educational Services (-39%), and Legal Services & Attorneys (-31%) rounded out the decliners.

Bankwest Chief Customer Officer Paul Vivian said: “We’re beginning to see many of the state’s businesses return to expected turnover levels, and it’s great that West Australians are taking advantage of their freedoms.

“However, within the data, there are also a few hints of the reality of a world that continues to manage its way through a global pandemic, and an event unlike anything many of us have ever seen in our lifetime.

“From the spike in Counselling Services, to the ongoing challenges of those hardest hit, such as the tourism and travel sector, it’s clear that many in our community – our family and friends – are doing it tough.

“This data says to me that it’s important to enjoy and take advantage of the positive moments in life, and that many of us are doing that, but it’s equally important to be there for each other as we emerge from COVID-19.”

Top 5 merchants by % growth
(FY21 Q2 v FY21 Q1)

Sector % change
Religious Organisations 180
Florists Supplies & Nursery Stock
Jewellery Stores 82
Gift, Card, Novelty & Souvenir Shops 79
Professional Services

Road to recovery
(Year-on-year for biggest growth – FY21 Q2 v FY20 Q2)

Sector % change
Electrical Appliance Stores
Art Dealers & Galleries
Motor Vehicle Supplies & New Parts
Furniture Shops
Bicycle Shops
Counselling Services

Road to recovery
(Year-on-year for hardest hit sectors – FY21 Q2 v FY20 Q2)

Sector % change
Travel agencies and tour operators
Computer Software Stores
Educational Services
Legal Services & Attorneys

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 for more than 1.1 million customers 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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