Consumers splashed out on food delivery, electronics and gambling apps during the 2021 lockdown, but reined in spending on homewares and office equipment.
Data on Australian spending produced by consultancy Accenture and credit bureau illion, which draws on anonymised bank transaction data, reveals how the country’s second extended lockdown has built on trends that began in 2020.
It showed that home delivery, a pandemic boom sector, continued its surge in recent months. In 2020, delivery spending shot up to 132% higher than pre-pandemic levels.
In 2021 it jumped to levels 203% higher than the norm.
The data shows the significant rise in spending on consumer electronics, pets and alcohol, consistent with last year’s lockdowns, has been repeated this time around.
However, the soaring investment in homewares and home offices in 2020 — when the majority of the country’s office employees were forced to work from home — did not, with spending on furniture, office equipment and hardware in Sydney and Melbourne much lower over the past four months.
Spending on online gambling has similarly peaked in Australia’s two biggest cities in the most recent lockdowns, at 329% above normal levels.
That surpasses the gambling surge during last year’s lockdown, which hit levels 215% above the pre-pandemic norm.
Andrew Charlton, managing director at Accenture, said national data showed online gambling spending had been elevated since the 2020 lockdowns, signalling what could be a lasting shift in consumer behaviour.
“It appears many people have been introduced to online gambling during lockdowns,” Charlton said.
The figures also show that when lockdowns were imposed in March of 2020, spending on consumer electronics leapt to 160% above normal levels, before falling back to pre-pandemic norms earlier this year.
But over the last three months, the amount spent on electronics has again surged, up to almost 150% above usual pre-pandemic spending levels.
Similarly the amount Sydney and Mebourne’s locked down residents shelled out on their pets rebounded this lockdown period. Spending during this year’s lockdowns is currently 66% higher than pre-pandemic norms, with the data suggesting this area of expenditure saw an uptick during 2020’s stay-at-home orders and have remained elevated since.
The data shows supermarket spending skyrocketed in the early weeks of last year’s lockdown, as panic buying sparked by uncertainty around the pandemic drove consumers to stock up. Spending in April last year was 123% above the average for that month.
This behaviour did not carry over in a meaningful way into the beginning of the second extended lockdown, with consumption in late June sitting around the average pre-pandemic levels.
Food delivery spending has been slowly rising — and continued to do so in the months between the first and second periods of lockdown.
In April last year, the amount spent was around 120% higher than pre-pandemic averages.
However by January of 2021 this had reached almost 200%, and by July of this year food delivery spending was almost 200% above pre-pandemic levels.