Zip Co has released its Weekly Spending Index with weekly insights into consumer spending since the COVID-19 outbreak in Australia.

Grocery purchases for the month of March were up 24% compared to 2019, however in the week after the first National Cabinet meeting, Australians spent 28.9% more on groceries than in the previous week. However, the following week saw grocery spend fall 16.8%, but was the second highest grossing week for grocery sales in 2020 to date.

All states and territories saw an increase in spending the week before Australia entered lockdown, with the highest week-on-week increase in the ACT (13.8%), VIC (9%) and NSW (8.6%).

With Australia’s pubs, clubs and bars closed, sales of takeaway alcohol were up 34.2% and during the first week of lockdown, spending at bottle shops surpassed that of the week prior to Christmas – one of the highest grossing weeks of the year.

Australian consumers also turned to video games with spend increasing 42% for the week commencing 15 March then by 56% in the following week.

Meanwhile, spending on personal care, including beauty, hair removal, tanning and nail sales, dropped the week of lockdown from 22 March, dropping 23.6% on the week prior. Clothing and fashion experienced 16.9% sales drop in the week leading to lockdown and decreased by a further 29.2% in the week after.

It was a mixed bag for merchants selling pet supplies, trade services and sporting goods with spending dramatically up one week and down the next.

Zip co-founder, Peter Gray said the report shows how dynamic and unpredictable spending habits are right now.

“We expect to see further fluctuations over the coming weeks and months when the effect of job losses and unemployment starts to show. The data also reveals how reactive consumers are to government announcements so merchants need to be prepared – ensure supply chains are ready, websites can handle traffic volumes and that key products are restocked,” he said.

The Index is based on transaction data from a sample of more than 1.5 million Zip customers and 300,000 Pocketbook users (Zip Co is parent company of Pocketbook).

-story ends-