“Combine that with the boredom of being at home and extra money – maybe from government payments or extra savings – and maybe this addictive new technology gets away from us a bit.”
Simon Bligh, chief executive of illion, said it appeared people had turned to online gambling to amuse themselves during lockdowns.
“There really isn’t anywhere else to blow your cash in Sydney and Melbourne if you want a quick entertainment hit,” he said.
Pets in Sydney and Melbourne have been pampered during both lockdown periods. Spending on them during this year’s stay-at-home orders reached a high point of 66 per cent above the pre-pandemic norm – an even bigger jump than during the 2020 restrictions. The tracker shows spending on pets has been elevated since the pandemic began.
When lockdowns were imposed last year, spending on consumer electronics jumped to 160 per cent above normal levels. After falling back earlier this year, the amount spent on electronic gadgets has again surged back to be almost 150 per cent higher than usual during this year’s restrictions.
The travel industry was hit hard amid the restrictions and border closures during the early stages of the pandemic. But spending on holidays has not fallen as much during the 2021 lockdowns as last year.
Dr Charlton said many consumers seemed to be anticipating an end to restrictions and were planning future holidays.
“In a sense, this is COVID 2.0 and we have a much better idea of what our future will be,” he said.
Few industries have been hit harder than recreation, fitness and entertainment during the pandemic but the decline in spending on those sectors during 2021 lockdowns has not been quite as bad as last year.