Wednesday, February 28, 2024

Household spending rises in November

The monthly CommBank Household Spending Insights (HSI) Index rose 1.8% in November.

This was driven by consumers bringing forward their holiday shopping to take advantage of heavy discounting during Black Friday and Cyber Monday.

Spending rose in nine of the CommBank HSI Index’s 12 underlying categories, with the biggest gain driven by a 9.3% jump in household goods.

The largest increases in spending in the category was at department stores, discount and variety stores, activewear stores, and cosmetic and beauty stores – all key retailers for Christmas gifts.

Gains were also seen in spending on recreation (up 3%), communications and digital (up 1.2%), and household services (up 1%).

These gains were partly offset by reduced spending on transport (down 3.6%), following a 2% gain in October. That fall was said to be “largely driven” by a drop in the price of petrol.

Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CBA) Chief Economist Stephen Halmarick says November’s gains were expected given the recent history of a large increase in spending around Black Friday and Cyber Monday.

“What was once a novel period of sales for many Australians has now become entrenched behaviour. Expecting heavy discounts, consumers are opting to spend big in November. However, we anticipate consumers will pull back on spending in December,” he says.

“Looking ahead, we expect to see continued softening in consumer spending into 2024.”

Mr Halmarick says the September quarter national accounts released by the ABS last week showed the pace of economic growth in Australia is moderating and households are under pressure from a continued fall in real household disposable income.

“The November 25 basis point rate hike by the Reserve Bank of Australia will add further downward pressure to household spending into 2024,” he says.

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