Consumer confidence has rebounded significantly by 18% seemingly boosted by Victoria experiencing a progressive decline in COVID-19 cases. The index still remains in pessimistic territory at 93.8 in September 2020 and it is now only 1.6% below the six-month average leading into COVID-19. The index is now close to where it stood in June 2020, just after the first restrictions were lifted, with some states (WA, QLD, SA) actually above June levels. Victoria remains 5.6% below the June levels despite the 14.9% jump in September. The most recent traditional retail sales data is for July 2020 and showed a 3.2% increase (despite a 6.1% decrease in consumer confidence that same month, heavily impacted by pessimism in Victoria), with an increase in sales recorded everywhere except for Victoria which saw a decrease of 2.1% on the back of lockdown. NAB recorded online retail sales increasing by 6.7% during July 2020 (the third largest monthly increase in the history of the measure, the two largest occurring in March and April this year at the beginning of COVID-19 lockdowns), with Victoria’s continued lockdown measures representing a key element of this growth (16% increase in Victoria).
Source: Westpac – Melbourne Institute Consumer Sentiment Index
Source: Australian Bureau of Statistics
Online retail sales