Luna Park

We’re going to the cinema, taking short breaks and focusing on holidays, with tourist destinations like Tasmania recording healthy spending results despite lacklustre overall spending, according to the latest data from Commsec research.

Craig James, Chief Economist at Commsec has reported that economy-wide spending has remained flat over April, with annual trend growth in sales slipping to a four-month low. 

Across sectors, 14 of the 19 industry sectors were flat or higher in trend terms in April. The Commonwealth Bank Business Sales Indicator (BSI) – a measure of economy-wide spending – was flat in April in trend terms after a revised 0.1 per cent rise in March.

On the other side of the equation, the strongest gains in sales occurred in Amusement & Entertainment (up 2.0 per cent) from Miscellaneous Stores (up 0.9 per cent). Other notable trend increases in sales occurred in Hotels & Motels (up 0.8 per cent) and Service Providers (up 0.6 per cent).

Commsec’s data suggests that while business and government departments have been tightening their belts, Aussie consumers are still spending up on ‘experiences’, which reflects the current focus toward higher levels of customer service, individualised attention for shoppers, and ‘retail entertainment’.

Over the past couple of months, spending has slowed potentially due to uncertainty surrounding the Federal Budget, but the softer spending date is in accordance with consumer confidence, which has flattened in the last few months.

Commsec does expect that the timing of the Easter and school holidays may have played a part in the overall figures, and is expecting a clearer picture of economy-wide spending to emerge over the next couple of months.