Consumer confidence increased by 6.4% to 93.7 in June 2020, effectively recovering to pre-COVID levels. The improvement corresponds to the easing of government restrictions. Whilst a material improvement, the index remained in negative territory for the tenth consecutive month. ABS data on traditional retail sales in May/June is not yet available however April data released last week showed sales fell significantly by 17.7% in April 2020 reversing all of the March growth, with the impact of COVID-19 restrictions forcing many retailers to close their bricks and mortar stores. Record falls were experienced in discretionary categories including cafes, restaurants and takeaway (35.4%) and clothing, footwear and personal accessory (53.6%). Online retail sales continued the run of significant growth with the largest monthly increase on record of 16.2% in April, as consumers changed (without much choice) their behaviour due to store closures and social distancing restrictions.
Source: Westpac – Melbourne Institute Consumer Sentiment Index
Source: Australian Bureau of Statistics
Online retail sales