Western Australian spending has stalled for the third consecutive month, as they continue to feel the pinch of cost-of-living and inflationary pressures, according to Bankwest’s latest Spend Trends analysis.
Bankwest’s Spend Trends report, which tracks WA customer credit and debit activity, showed transactions activity stalled for the third month running, with the number of customers transacting (2%), and the value (1%) and volume (0%) of those transactions either plateauing or posting negligible signs of month-on-month growth in May.
The year-on-year figures, too, were negligible and in single-figure growth, reflecting the extent of financial strain on Western Australians.
The only sector to show significant growth was education, which saw both the number of customers transacting (55%) and the volume of transactions (23%) rising month-on-month, but the uptick was expected with the resumption of the school term.
All other sectors posted very slight improvements or declines in the number of customers transacting, with discretionary sectors feeling the squeeze, as shown by electrical appliance retailers (5% month-on-month; -29% year-on-year).
The travel sector, which had been experiencing a revival after the pandemic, saw a pull-back in spending, with airline, travel agency, and auto rental all stalling or falling in spending volumes month-on-month.
In sectors considered essential, such as food stores/warehouses and pharmacies, spending remained steady month-on-month and year-on-year, which according to Bankwest suggested that already-tight purse strings had little room left for tightening.
Analysis also showed that the year-on-year gap between the value (9%) and volume (6%) of transactions, which has been an indicator of cost-of-living pressures over the past year, were still aligned, suggesting the imbalance continued to ease.
Philippa Costanzo (pictured above), Bankwest general manager everyday banking said the Spend Trends figures highlight that many Western Australians are challenged by the current economic environment.
“We can see that there is very little spending activity month-on-month in any sector unless it aligns with an expected milestone, such as the growth of education with the resumption of the school year,” Costanzo said.
“Even those sectors that have experienced growth in the number of customers transacting, or the value or volume of those transactions, would likely be hesitant to label it ‘growth’, given the small nature of the increases.”
Costanzo assured customers that the bank is here to support them, and urged those experiencing financial hardship or are concerned that they could in the future, to contact the bank as soon as possible.
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