Spend Trends: WA spend falls for planes, trains, but not automobiles

1 November 2021

Bankwest’s latest Spend Trends analysis has revealed the changing face of WA life in a pandemic world, shining a light on the plight of the travel sector, as people hit the roads more, and spend big at department stores.

Bankwest’s analysis looked at millions of WA customer credit and debit transactions, to provide insights into how the state’s community and economy have responded and adapted to the impacts of COVID-19.

The data compared the first quarter of the new financial year (Jul to Sep 2021) with the previous quarter and looked at figures from the start of 2020 through to September 2021 for a year-on-year and pre-pandemic view.

The analysis also looked at the sectors most susceptible to fluctuations from restrictions and changing conditions.

The figures highlighted the damage to Airlines and Travel Agencies, which dropped 90 per cent in turnover from the first quarter of the pandemic (Mar to May 2020) against the previous pre-COVID quarter (Jan to Mar 2020).

Neither industry has shown signs of recovery, despite turnover having increased every quarter since the onset of COVID, with spending in the most recent quarter (Jul to Sep 2021) still 60 per cent below pre-pandemic levels.

Social distancing also appears to have become a way of life for many, with Public Transport spend having stabilised for the past four quarters, but down almost 25 per cent on pre-COVID levels.

That was contrasted by Parking, which was exceeding pre-pandemic turnover by 16 per cent, suggesting Public Transport’s fall was not solely due to more people working from home, but also from them driving themselves.

Other figures also made it clear West Australians were using their cars more, with Service Stations consistently in or close to the Top 5 spend categories across all seven quarters analysed, and the Vehicles category close behind.

The numbers also showed Department Stores were the beneficiaries of increased savings and people remaining in Western Australia, with spending having increased year-on-year across every 2021 quarter.

Bankwest also looked at the fluctuations in spending across the seven quarters to identify the sectors most susceptible to the impacts of COVID-19 and the subsequent health measures enacted by the government.

Recreation (businesses such as cinemas, ice skating, and sports stadiums), Travel Agencies, Hotels/Motels, Airlines, and Education (schools and universities) made up the Top 5 sectors with the most fluctuating spending.

Professional Services (such as insurance), Food Stores/Warehouses (such as supermarkets), Pharmacies, Utilities, and Mail Order (online/digital and physical subscription services) were the Top 5 with most consistent spend.

Bankwest Chief Customer Officer Paul Vivian said: “West Australians have consistently responded and adapted to a new ‘normal’ throughout the pandemic, and this data highlights some interesting trends and changes.

“Some parts of life rarely change, even in a pandemic, and we see that in the industries with consistent customer spend, but there’s other areas that have seen significant and, potentially, permanent shifts in spending.

“Increased spending at service stations makes sense as people holiday within WA, but the consistent reduction in public transport, and increase in parking spend, is interesting and could suggest a change in community attitudes.

“However, we know throughout the pandemic there have also been businesses and sectors hit tremendously hard, and these numbers show how significant COVID’s impact has been on Travel Agencies and Airlines.

“Those businesses will hopefully recover as Australia’s vaccination rate lifts and we begin to open up, but many will require support until they’re back on their feet, and we’ll continue to work with those customers still doing it tough.”

Top 5 sectors by % of total spend

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FY22 Q1 – Most recent quarter
(Jul-Sep 2021)
 
Sector
% of total spend
Food Stores/Warehouses
18.33
Other retail
11.73
Restaurants & bars
10.85
Other services 9.92
Service stations 5.28
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FY21 Q4 – Previous quarter
(Apr-Jun 2021)

Sector
% of total spend
Food Stores/Warehouses
18.89
Other retail
11.86
Restaurants & bars
10.96
Other services 8.57
Professional services
5.45
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FY21 Q1 – This time last year
(Jul-Sep 2020)
Sector
% of total spend
Food Stores/Warehouses
18.55
Other retail
11.97
Restaurants & bars
10.70
Other services 9.98
Professional services
5.53
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Bottom 5 sectors by % of total spend

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FY22 Q1 – Most recent quarter
(Jul-Sep 2021)

 
Sector
% of total spend
Repair shops
0.18
Auto rental
0.34
Mail order
0.45
Airlines
0.59
Travel agencies
0.62
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FY22 Q1 – Most recent quarter
(Jul-Sep 2021)

 
Sector
% of total spend
Repair shops
0.22
Auto rental
0.38
Mail order
0.46
Travel agencies
0.59
Airlines
1.01
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FY21 Q1 – This time last year
(Jul-Sep 2020)

 
Sector
% of total spend
Repair shops
0.22
Auto rental
0.30
Airlines
0.39
Mail order
0.44
Other transport
1.13
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Top 5 sectors by most fluctuating spend overall quarter-to-quarter
(Sectors most susceptible to covid impacts)


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Sector FY20 Q3 to FY20 Q4
(%)
FY20 Q4 to FY21 Q1
(%)

FY21 Q1 to FY21 Q2
(%)
FY21 Q2 to FY21 Q3
(%)
FY21 Q3 to FY21 Q4
(%)
FY21 Q4 to FY22 Q1
(%)
Recreation
-69.25
199.35
10.39 -1.09 4.36 8.35
Travel agencies
-91.83 182.94 -2.20 13.61 32.69 10.82
Hotels/Motels
-68.30 154.45 4.29 3.78 3.52 3.80
Airlines
-89.67 97.89 30.30 21.37 66.95 -37.81
Education
-49.88 86.57 -38.00 70.49 -35.35 30.81
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Top & bottom 3 sectors by biggest % change year-on-year and pre-pandemic
(Sorted by pre-pandemic v current)

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Sector Year-on-Year
(FY22 Q1 v FY21 Q1)
(%)

Pre-pandemic v Current
(FY20 Q3 v FY22 Q1)
(%)
Department stores
45
93
Hardware
15 63
Vehicles
-1 48
Airlines
64 -66
Travel agencies
63 -62
Public transport
23 -24
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Sector examples

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Sector Examples
Airlines Self-explanatory
Auto rental Self-explanatory
Department stores Large department stores and chains, not including discount department stores
Education Schools, colleges, and universities
Food stores/warehouses Supermarkets, consumable manufacturers, food retailers and franchises
Hardware Hardware retailers and chains, landscaping specialists, home DIY retailers
Hotels/motels Self-explanatory
Mail order Digital and physical subscription services for goods (that is: not services, such as streaming services)
Other retail Discount department stores, pet shops/chains, online marketplaces
Other services Op shops, not-for-profit sales, newspaper/media subscriptions, charities
Parking Self-explanatory (standalone and at-venue, such as hospitals)
Professional services Roadside assistance, insurance (home/contents, car, health), it/computer/digital device specialists
Public transport Self-explanatory
Recreation Community sports venues, event ticket retailers, bowling, ice skating, cinemas, gyms, stadiums/arenas
Repair shops Cobblers, tailors, electrical appliance repairs, watchmakers, mobile phone repairs
Restaurants & bars Self-explanatory
Service stations Self-explanatory
Travel agencies Self-explanatory (online and bricks-and-mortar)
Vehicles Automotive dealerships, automotive and car care accessory retailers, repairs and servicing
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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 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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