Bored and anxious Australians spent much more on alcohol last week than did a year ago, even as they eschewed bars and pubs to drink at home, credit and debit card data reveals.
Spending on both food and alcohol for the week ending Friday was up 19 per cent compared to a year earlier, Commonwealth Bank said on Tuesday in its new weekly report on consumer behaviour.
“Growth in alcohol to be consumed at home remains very strong,” CBA said.
Bottle shop spending was up 42 per cent, while spending at pubs and hotels was down 17 per cent, the bank said.
CBA, Australia’s largest bank, has been reporting on weekly spending patterns by its customers to help understand how the country’s economic recovery is progressing.
The data hasn’t been adjusted to account for consumers using credit and debit cards more, rather than cash.
A YouGov survey released earlier this month in conjunction with the International Alliance for Responsible Drinking indicated that 26 per cent of Australian drinkers said they were consuming less alcohol during the shutdowns, while 15 per cent said they were drinking more.
But six per cent said their drinking had led to them experiencing more problems because of their alcohol consumption during the lockdowns.
Overall, CBA said that consumer spending continued to improve last week, albeit at a modest pace.
“Consumers are slowly returning to in-store shopping,” the bank said in its weekly report on credit and debit card spending.
But spending on recreation (including air travel and accommodation) was down nine per cent, and spending on transport was down seven per cent as more people work from home.
Spending on household furnishings and equipment was up 42 per cent, and personal care spending was up 13 per cent as beauty and barber shops reopen.