The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) has released details of the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on household spending around Australia.
The findings of its report include facts on spending habits, financial stress, use of government stimulus payments, job status and travel intentions of Australian households.
Key amongst its findings is the fact that Australians have decreased their spending activity on things like eating out (87% of people reporting a drop), child care fees (85%), recreation or leisure activities (79%), public transport (73%) and personal care down 64%.
Once restrictions are lifted, however, that same sample size intends to increase its spending on recreational activities by 74%, eating out by 74%, private transport by 74%, and their personal care by 70%.
According to the ABS’ findings, “excluding Australians who never used or bought the specific goods or services mentioned, the survey found that during COVID-19 restrictions: the majority (87%) decreased their spending on eating out, whilst one in ten (12%) kept spending the same.”
In relation to key social aspects, the ABS says that 89% of Australians sent their children to school or child care in the previous week, 72% went shopping in a physical retail store, and 60% attended their workplace in-person in the past week.
In terms of house-hold financial stress and the use of stimulus payments, two-thirds of respondents said their household finances were unchanged in the past four-weeks. This is, in contrast to the 19% that said their household finances were hit detrimentally due to COVID-19.
94% of households expect to be able to pay their bills over the next three months, with the ABS reporting that the most common use for the Coronavirus Supplement and JobKeeper Payment programs was for paying bills.
“Of the Australians receiving the JobKeeper payment, approximately half (48%) were receiving less income than their usual pay, one third (33%) were receiving about the same and one in five (20%) were receiving more.”
The ABS also asked households whether or not they’d be able to raise $2,000 if a sudden and important issue were to arise, with 88% of households responding they could. This is an increase of 7% from the ABS’ previous report on the topic released in mid-April. 9% could raise $500, but not the $2,000 figure, according to the report.
14% of households reported that they took actions to consolidate their personal finances, with the most common actions taken including drawing on accumulated savings or term deposits (8%) and reducing home loan payments (2%).
In terms of domestic and international travel intentions, the majority (55%) of Australians intend to take a domestic holiday once the COVID-19 restrictions are lifted, with 29% reporting they intend to take an international holiday.
Of the domestic share, 20% intend to take a holiday within the next month, and more than two-thirds say they will take a holiday in the next six-months. Of those that intend to take an international holiday, 25% are planning on taking a trip in the next six-months, 44% in the next 6-12 months, and 31% intending to take a trip in more than 12-month’s time.
The ABS also asked respondents to detail whether or not they were likely to do things like attending a workplace in person, attending social gathers, going to a pub or bar, visiting the gym and sending their children to school.
The results are listed below: