Here for a good time, not a long time, as Aussies splash the cash

Spending on entertainment has rocketed in recent months as Australians look to spend more on having a good time and home buying to deal with the COVID restrictions.

May 18, 2021, updated May 18, 2021
Australians intend to spend more on having a good time

Australians intend to spend more on having a good time

According to the Commonwealth Bank’s tracking of spending intentions, entertainment is up 45 per cent for the year.

But there is some context to add to that. Despite talk of a booming economy, the tracking showed that spending intentions in many sectors were either flat or down on spending in 2019, which has been used as a better comparison than 2020 when much of the economy was closed down.

Retail, entertainment and real estate were the standouts.

Compared with 2020 the largest increases in entertainment spending intentions in on-premise drinking places, eating out and restaurants, personal care, bowling alleys, movie theatres and live theatre, the bank said.

But compared with 2019 there were declines in spending intentions on going to the movies, live theatre, video games and arcades and video tape rental stores.

The bank found spending intentions for real estate in April was up 80 per cent.

Retail spending intentions jumped higher in April 2021, more than offsetting the decline seen in March, as spending recovered strongly from the April 2020 low. Retail spending was also stronger than in April 2019 – supporting other evidence that consumer activity is strong

With few exceptions, i.e. grocery stores and supermarkets, spending in retail was stronger relative to 2020 across nearly all categories

Relative to April 2019, retail spending remained solid across a number of categories, including clothing, footwear, groceries & supermarkets, department stores, household furnishing and equipment stores, stationary & office supplies, digital apps and pet shops

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Travel spending intentions jumped sharply higher in April 2021 relative to a year ago – when almost all travel ceased, but they were lower than April 2019.

Solid increases were only seen in visits to aquariums, camper and RV dealers, motor home and RV rentals and trailer parks and camp grounds.

“Relative to 2019, travel spending intentions are still relatively weak for airlines, cruise ships, timeshares, travel agents, car rentals and bus lines,’’ it said.

Health and fitness spending intentions are up strongly in April 2021 relative to 2020, led higher by spending on sports apparel, dentists, doctors, hospitals, optometrists, professional sports, sports clubs and golf courses.

Relative to April 2019, however, the increase in health and fitness spending intentions was much more modest.

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