ABS: Recreational spending bounces back as lockdowns ease

The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) today released its sixth Household Impacts of COVID-19 Survey, which suggests that spending on eating out and recreational activities is expect to bounce back as restrictions ease. However, spending on household furnishings and clothing and footwear are not expected to bounce back:

“Many Australians reported decreased spending on eating out (87 per cent), child care fees (85 per cent), recreation or leisure (79 per cent), public transport (73 per cent) and personal care (64 per cent).

“Of these people, a majority expected to increase their spending on recreational activities (74 per cent), eating out (74 per cent), private transport (73 per cent), personal care (70 per cent), childcare (66 per cent) and public transport (55 per cent).

“On the other hand, the majority of Australians who had reduced expenditure on household furnishings (72 per cent) and clothing and footwear (52 per cent) expected to continue to spend lower amounts on these items as COVID-19 restrictions ease.”

Welfare payments like JobKeeper and the expanded JobSeeker have also prevented household incomes from tanking:

  • Two-thirds of Australians (66%) reported their household finances remained unchanged in the four weeks to mid-June.
  • Nearly one in five Australians (19%) reported their household finances had worsened due to COVID-19 in the four weeks to mid-June.
  • Almost all Australians (94%) aged 18 years and over reported their household expects to be able pay bills received in the next three months.
  • The Coronavirus Supplement and the JobKeeper Payment were most commonly used to pay household bills by those receiving the stimulus payments.

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 survey asked people if their household finances in the last four weeks had improved, remained the same or worsened due to COVID-19. Two-thirds of Australians (66%) reported their household finances remained unchanged, one in five (19%) felt they had worsened and 16% felt they had improved.

Persons aged 18-64 were more likely than persons aged 65 and over to report that their household finances had worsened due to COVID-19 over the four-week period to mid-June (21% compared with 12%).

The real test will come in October if emergency income support measures and mortgage repayment freezes are tapered too heavily.

Leith van Onselen


  1. ErmingtonPlumbingMEMBER

    Trying to buy my 10 year old boy a new 24 or 26 inch wheel mountain bike in the 500 to $600 range but I can’t find a bike shop with one in stock for him to test ride. Went to 5 bloody bike shops on Sunday!
    They all say they are sold out and won’t have new stock until September most of which is already pre-ordered/sold.
    One bike shop guy said they had sold 12 months worth of turnover in less than three months.
    WTF is going on?
    Are people stockpiling these bikes to wipe their arses on or something?

    • Sales seem to be awesome everywhere in the retail space, at least that is what I am hearing. There is a lot of stimulus out there. There’s going to be a hang over if it is ever cut.

    • The FallMEMBER

      Bike sales have been massive. It was something you were allowed to do when so much else was not allowed.
      The Chinese supply chains that make them have all been disrupted so we’re now stuck with no bikes for a while.

    • drsmithyMEMBER

      The ‘Rona sent bike sales through the roof, combined with supply disruptions from China.

      It’s the same for accessories (especially trainers). I spent weeks stalking Gumtree and Facebook looking for some bike carriers for our roof racks so we could take the kids somewhere to learn how to ride.

      On the flipside, if you have any old bikes in the shed, it’s a great time to offload them.

    • @Ermo, feel your pain. We were trying to buy a decent bike for daughter for birthday. All bike shops said put your name on list & hope the new bikes come in soon..? Huge demand for bikes as DRS says, all things like bikes & training stuff is sold out.

  2. billriskasMEMBER

    job seeker and keeper is paying a lot of people to do nothing and they are getting more than they used to. Problem is once September comes holy shitola, there will be blood. Spending will go off a cliff once people revert back to $700 fortnight!

  3. Our local bike shop owner cant wipe the smile of his face
    The clothing and footwear shop owners on the other hand have expressions on their faces like the chaps on the tumbril to the guillotine

Leave a reply

You must be logged in to post a comment. Log in now