Western Australians are embracing the warmer weather and the beginning of the end of the global pandemic, with Bankwest’s Spend Trends producing several indicators that people were returning to a ‘normal’ way of life.
Bankwest looked at WA customer credit and debit transactions for September and tracked month-on-month and year-on-year spending trends to provide insights into the community’s response to changing economic conditions.
The data signalled that Western Australians were continuing with discretionary spending, with increases across several non-essential sectors, while there was evidence more people were heading back overseas and outdoors.
Bankwest’s Spend Trends series has long tracked the recovery of the travel sector, with Western Australians returning to the skies in droves, but September’s data suggested they were doing so for overseas trips.
The number of customers (-3%) making Airline transactions and the volume of transactions (-1%) fell month-on-month, but the value of transactions grew seven per cent, indicating fewer travellers making more expensive trips.
That was supported by spending activity at Travel Agents, with the number of customers transacting with holiday consultants and the volume of those transactions both increasing month-on-month by eight per cent.
There were also signs Western Australians were embracing the warm weather and return to normality after two years of pandemic uncertainty, with increases in spending activity in Clothing Stores and Recreation.
The value of spending at Clothing Stores rose by nine per cent month-on-month, a potential indicator of people refreshing their wardrobes as they return to the social scene and with calls for workers to return to the office.
Recreation spending, which includes live music, sport and events, movie theatres, and bowling, rose month-on-month in the number of customers spending (5%), the volume of transactions (8%), and their value (6%).
Spring, combined with public and school holidays, also resulted in work around the house, with a lift month-on-month in those spending at Hardware stores (8%), the volume of transactions (8%), and the value of spending (3%).
The impact of the WA Government’s electricity credit for households was also apparent, with the value of transactions year-on-year falling by five per cent, despite the volume of transactions increasing by 12 per cent.
Inflationary pressures remained in the internationally-dependent Electrical Appliance retailers, with spend value year-on-year (20%) booming, despite the number of people spending (-15%) and transaction volume (-23%) falling.
The conflict in Ukraine continued to apply pressure to fuel costs, with the value of transactions at Service Stations soaring (14%) year-on-year, despite the number of those spending (3%) and volume of transactions (2%) stabilising.
Bankwest General Manager Everyday Banking Philippa Costanzo said: “The world is in a unique situation at the moment, as we grapple with economic uncertainty at the same time as emerging from an unprecedented scenario.
“Western Australians – and those around the world – have endured more than two years of life that no-one saw coming and, so, as we come to the end of that period, it makes sense that people are spending and travelling.
“However, it also comes at a time of increased financial challenge for households, with rising interest rates, supply-chain interruptions, and inflationary pressures putting strain on Western Australians’ hip pockets.
“We know that those who had the capacity to save did so at an unprecedented rate during the low-rate and low-spending environment of the past two years, but there are also those who will find the current climate challenging.
“We encourage customers who think they might require support to get in touch, and to use this time to work through their financial situation, as we believe challenging economic times will remain for a while.”