National consumer sentiment rebounded by 1.5% to 108.8 in July 2021 according to the Westpac survey. The survey was undertaken during the first week of the current lockdown in Greater Sydney however prior to the announcement of the lockdown extension and the additional tightening of restrictions. The modest increase in July 2021 follows a 9.8% fall in consumer sentiment since the record high levels reached in April 2021 and masks some significant swings across states. As expected, New South Wales suffered a dramatic fall in consumer sentiment of 10.2%, however this was fully offset by robust recoveries in Victoria (10.5%) and Western Australia (15.0%) as both states eased restrictions.
The most recent ABS retail sales data released for May 2021 showed an increase of 0.4% with monthly sales having now exceeded $30 billion for seven consecutive months. Sales were 7.7% greater than the corresponding month last year during the national restrictions, and 13.9% higher than May 2019. The result demonstrates the consumer’s continued resilience even following the end of JobKeeper. Whilst consumer sentiment did fall in May it still sat at historically high rates. Sales increased throughout the majority of the states with growth recorded in Queensland (1.6%), Western Australia (1.4%) and New South Wales (0.5%), while the Northern Territory (2.1%) and Victoria (0.9%) experienced a fall in sales that offset the other states’ gains as Victoria went into a two week lockdown during the month. Online retail sales rebounded following three months of decline with an increase of 2.7% recorded in May 2021 from a revised contraction of 3.5% in March (previously 3.7% decrease), with online sales for the twelve months to May 2021 comprising 13.2% of total retail sales during that period, 38.4% higher than the previous corresponding period.
Source: Westpac – Melbourne Institute Consumer Sentiment Index
Source: Australian Bureau of Statistics
Online retail sales