Travel soars over border change, while heat sets in at home

21 March 2022

Bankwest’s Spend Trends analysis of February has revealed the rush to the skies by Western Australians following the State Government’s revised border reopening date, with key travel sectors soaring in turnover as a result.

And it would seem Perth’s record-breaking summer also had an impact on hip pockets of Western Australians.

Bankwest’s analysis looked at WA customer credit and debit transactions for February, comparing them year-on-year to provide insights into the community’s response to changing economic, pandemic, and travel conditions.

The data showed an immediate and significant response to the State Government’s revised border announcement on 17 February, with Airline spend surging in both transaction value (109%) and volume (81%).

The surge led to a 198 per cent rise in transaction value and 100 per cent in volume for Airlines in February.

It was a trend experienced across several travel-related industries, with Travel Agencies up in value (46%) and volume (17%) in the week following the announcement and for the month (value – 40%; volume – 19%).

The growth was critical for Travel Agencies, with February’s transaction value up 196 per cent and volume 139 per cent year-on-year, as the sector edges closer to recovery after sustaining significant and prolonged losses.

The data shows Travel Agencies are now 35 per cent below pre-pandemic levels in transaction value, and 12 per cent below in volume.

Hotels/Motels also increased in February, up 15 per cent in value and 18 per cent in volume year-on-year, along with Cruise Lines, which lifted 48 per cent in value and 35 per cent in volume.

More people working from home and Perth’s record-breaking summer were the likely causes behind a significant increase in Utilities payments, rising 25 per cent in transaction value and 21 per cent in volume year-on-year.

The analysis also highlighted the community’s response to changing economic conditions, with surging petrol prices leading to a 40 per cent lift in transaction value and 15 per cent in volume year-on-year at Service Stations.

Spending at Department Stores remained consistent for Western Australians, with transactions up 25 per cent in value and 33 per cent in volume year-on-year, so too at Pharmacies (value – 34%; volume – 21%).

Bankwest Chief Customer Officer Paul Vivian highlighted how the Spend Trends data reflected our urge to reconnect with loved ones.

“The immediate surge in travel spending following the border reopening announcement reveals the strong appetite of many West Australians to be reunited with friends and family outside WA as quickly as possible,” he said.

“We saw the heart-warming scenes at Perth Airport when the state’s hard border was removed earlier this month, and we can see in the spending surge on Airlines that Western Australians were waiting for that announcement.

“It’s promising to see Travel Agencies closing in on pre-pandemic transaction volumes – although value remains a way off – but the sustained decrease in turnover was substantial and will likely take some time to recover from.

“It’s also interesting to see the year-on-year increase in spending on Utilities, which can likely be put down to more people working from home as COVID spreads throughout the state, and the fiercely hot summer we experienced."

Overall transaction change year-on-year February 2021 v February 2022

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  Value (%) Volume (%)
2021 V 2022
+14
+11
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Top 5 sectors by

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Value of transactions
February 2021
Value of transactions
February 2022
Volume of transactions
February 2021
Volume of transactions
February 2022
Food Stores/Warehouses
Food Stores/Warehouses
Food Stores/Warehouses
Food Stores/Warehouses
Other retail
Other retail
Restaurants/Bars
Restaurants/Bars
Restaurants/Bars
Restaurants/Bars
Other retail
Other retail
Other services
Other services
Service stations
Service stations
Professional services Service stations
Utilities Utilities
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Top 5 sectors by

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Biggest growth in volume
Feb 2021 v Feb 2022
Smallest growth in value
Feb 2021 v Feb 2022
Biggest growth in volume
Feb 2021 v Feb 2022
Smallest growth in volume
Feb 2021 v Feb 2022
Travel agencies
+196%
Repair shops
-2%
Travel agencies
+74%
Electrical appliances
-31%
Airlines
+91%
Education
-7%
Airlines
+57%
Interior furnishing
-4%
Service stations
+40%
Auto rental
-3%
Quasi cash
+38%
Clothing stores
-4%
Pharmacies
+34%
Professional services
+2%
Department stores
+33%
Discount stores
+1%
Department stores
+25%
Mail order
+2%
Pharmacies
+21%
Sporting/Toy stores
+3%
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Week-on-week spending through February 2022
- Travel agencies

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  Week end
4 February
(%)
Week end
11 February
(%)
Week end
18 February
(%)
Week end
25 February
(%)
Week end
4 March
(%)
 
Total February growth
(%)
Transaction value
NA
+0 +1 +46 -5 +40
Transaction volume NA -2 +3 +17 +0 +19
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Week-on-week spending through February 2022
- Airlines

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  Week end
4 February
(%)
Week end
11 February
(%)
Week end
18 February
(%)
Week end
25 February
(%)
Week end
4 March
(%)
 
Total February growth
(%)
Transaction value
NA
+31 +24 +109 -12 +198
Transaction volume NA +15 +3 +81 -7 +100
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Despite year-on-year growth, travel agency spend remains behind pre-pandemic levels

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  Feb 2021 v Feb 2020
(pre-pandemic)
(%)
Feb 2022 v Feb 2020
(pre-pandemic)
(%)
Transaction value
-76
-35
Transaction volume -65 -12
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Sector examples

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Sector Examples
Airlines Self-explanatory
Auto rental Self-explanatory (general and commercial)
Clothing stores Single-brand stores, as opposed to multi-brand Department Store retailers
Department stores Large department stores and chains, not including discount department stores
Discount stores Discount department stores and budget lifestyle and homeware retailers
Electrical appliance Whitegoods retailers, home entertainment stores, mobile and computing device outlets, computer games
Food Stores/Warehouses Includes Grocery Stores, as well as wholesale food distribution warehouses
Hardware Hardware retailers and chains, landscaping specialists, home DIY retailers
Hotels/Motels Self-explanatory
Other retail Online marketplaces, online arms of bricks-and-mortar retailers, discount department stores, liquor stores
Other services Courier services, public administration, newspaper subscriptions, roadside assistance companies
Other transport Ride sharing companies, taxis, private and public paid parking
Pharmacies Self-explanatory
Professional services All types of insurance, waste disposal services
Quasi cash Casino and gambling activities
Repair shops Cobblers, tailors, electrical appliance repairs, watchmakers, mobile phone repairs
Restaurants/Bars Self-explanatory
Service stations Self-explanatory
Sporting/Toy Stores Non-digital game retailers, outdoor recreation stores, sporting goods, apparel and footwear outlets
Travel agencies Self-explanatory (online and bricks-and-mortar)
Utilities Typical utility services, streaming services
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 build a brighter future for all. Bankwest provides personal and business banking solutions for 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.