Consumer sentiment increased by 6.2% to 118.8 in April 2021. It should be noted that the survey was taken in the week following Easter, so after the lifting of the ‘snap’ three day lockdown in Greater Brisbane. It was therefore also taken after the unwinding of JobKeeper but before the latest hit to confidence in the national vaccination rollout. The index is now at its highest level since August 2010 and is 57% higher than the April 2020 index, which was the low point in 2020. Consumer sentiment improved across each of the states, with an increase of 11.8% in Victoria the standout result. Confidence in four of the five sub-components increased, with ‘economy next 12 months’ (10.3%) and ‘finances next 12 months’ (5.4%) both recording significant improvements. The most recent ABS retail sales data released for February 2021 revealed a slight decrease of 0.8%, although sales exceeded $30 billion for the fourth consecutive month and were 9.1% higher than February 2020. Results were mixed among the states, with modest increases in NSW (1.2%), Queensland (1.1%) and South Tasmania (0.7%) offset by significant decreases in Western Australia (5.4%) and Victoria (3.0%). Sales increased across the majority of sub-categories including department stores (2.2%), clothing, footwear and personal accessory retailing (1.6%) and cafes, restaurants and takeaway food services (1.1%), however a significant decline in food retailing sales (3.0%) lead to an overall negative result for the period. Online retail sales experienced slight growth of 0.1% in February 2021, with sales for the twelve months to February 2021 comprising 13.2% of total retail sales during that period, roughly 48.4% higher than the previous corresponding period.
Source: Westpac – Melbourne Institute Consumer Sentiment Index
Source: Australian Bureau of Statistics
Online retail sales