West Aussies leaving home alone in sporty start to financial year

02 November 2020

The home redecoration and renovation trend that swept WA at the peak of the pandemic has abated, as West Australians redirect spending toward their local communities, according to Bankwest Spend Trends data.

However, while many businesses are booming under the benefits of the state’s hard border policy, others continue to suffer, with a year-on-year analysis highlighting the depth of challenge faced by those worst hit.

Bankwest’s Spend Trends analysis looked at a quarter-to-quarter comparison of business turnover to help illustrate how the WA community has continued to adapt to the impact of COVID-19.

The analysis also included a year-on-year comparison of those businesses worst hit by the pandemic.

The results showed most sectors that had significant growth during COVID restrictions had begun to reverse, with the pandemic’s once-booming surprise packet of bike shops now leading the decline at 24 per cent.

Electrical parts and equipment (10%) also experienced a double-figure decline from the past quarter, while Nurseries, lawn and garden supplies (9%), industrial supplies (2%) and hardware stores (2%) plateaued.

Out-and-about West Australians had instead focused spending within their communities, with sports clubs and promoters (201%) doubling turnover quarter-to-quarter, courtesy of eased restrictions and freedoms.

Government services experienced a 186 per cent increase in turnover, largely attributed to councils issuing rates notices, but also boosted by West Australians resuming near-regular use of roads and rail services.

The State Government’s call to ‘wander out yonder’ resulted in hotels, motels and resorts growing by 177 per cent, while the resumption of services at health and beauty spas (155%) had the industry continue to grow.

Restaurants and dining out (133%) rounded out Top 5 growth sectors, as West Australians entered the new financial year enjoying a near-normal way of life compared to elsewhere in the nation and around the world.

However, additional analysis revealed that those businesses that had recorded the most significant drop in turnover at the peak of the pandemic were showing few signs of recovering from the challenges of 2020.

A year-on-year analysis of the first quarter of the FY21 demonstrated the dire need for the WA Government’s recent experience voucher initiative, with travel agencies and tour operators (-82%) still significantly impacted.

Physical distancing requirements continued to impact amusement parks (-78%), with just a fifth of their 2019 turnover levels, as they did for educational services (-39%) and civic and social associations (-28%).

The impact of the pandemic on turnover was also highlighted with recreation services still 25 per cent behind 2019 levels, despite the category including Optus Stadium, which has hosted events at reduced capacity.

Bankwest Chief Customer Officer Paul Vivian said: “West Australians are a resilient bunch and, when we were required to stay at home, we busied ourselves by spending time and money on work around the house.

“However, now the state is enjoying freedoms unlike anywhere else in the country, it’s clear the community is keen to get back out there and make the most of it, from the local sports clubs, to dining out at restaurants.

“The year-on-year data has also shown the significant challenge facing those businesses most impacted by the pandemic, and it’s important those people are supported, so they’re ready to bounce back when they can.”

Top 5 merchants by % growth
(FY21 Q1 v FY20 Q4)

Swipe
Sector % Change
Sports clubs and promoters (community sports clubs, promoters, gyms)
201
Government services
186
Hotels, motels and resorts
177
Health and beauty spas
155
Restaurants and dining out
133
Swipe

Top 5 merchants by % decline
(FY21 Q1 v FY20 Q4)

Swipe
Sector % Change
Bicycle shops
-24
Electrical parts and equipment
-10
Nurseries, lawn and garden supplies
-9
Industrial supplies
-2
Hardware stores
-2
Swipe

Road to recovery
(Year-on-year for hardest hit sectors – FY21 Q1 v FY20 Q1)

Swipe
Sector % Change
Travel agencies and tour operators
-82
Amusement parks
-78
Educational services (tertiary education, registered training organisations)
-39
Civic and social associations (community centres, recreational activity groups)
-28
Recreation services (Optus Stadium, indoor trampoline centres, ice skating rinks, aquatic centres)
-25
Swipe

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