Consumer confidence increased 16.5% to 88.1 in May 2020. While this represented the largest monthly gain in the index’s history on the back of some easing of restrictions around COVID-19, the improvement only partly reversed the dramatic fall in April, meaning the index remains 4% below March 2020 levels and at levels not seen since the GFC. The index is 13% below May 2019. Retail sales recorded strong growth of 8.5% in March 2020 off the back of ‘panic buying’ and stockpiling leading to unprecedented demand in the food retailing industry, with significant rises in supermarkets, liquor retailing and other specialised food retailers. There was material variation in results however, with some discretionary categories reporting falls of more than 20%. Online retail sales continued its recent growth with a substantial increase of 5.6% as consumers shifted their purchasing online given store closures and social distancing restrictions.
Source: Westpac – Melbourne Institute Consumer Sentiment Index
Source: Australian Bureau of Statistics
Online retail sales