Zip’s latest Weekly Spending Index has shown that many Australian households embraced the government’s HomeBuilder scheme, spending money on fixing up their homes during December 2020.

Trade services led the growth in home improvement up 69.5% in total across carpentry, flooring, plastering, plumbing, roofing, and tiling.

This was closely followed by electricians (62.9%) and landscaping (58%), while repairs and maintenance were up 30.5%. The construction sector experienced growth of 23%.

Consumers also spent more on furniture and homewares with the category rising 42%, as well as garden and hardware, increasing 25.2%.

“Covid-19 and the government’s response is changing what we have all been spending on. With the uptake of HomeBuilder almost double the initial Treasury forecast, the program’s extension until 31 March 2021 means we will keep seeing lots of spending in this sector,” a Zip spokesperson said.

Australian consumers also focused on their personal appearance over Christmas with tattoo studios experiencing growth of 52.5% and beauty salons seeing growth of 17.4%. Skills-based spending also increased during December, led by language schools (66.6%), followed by art schools (39.6%), flying schools (37.2%), cooking schools (28.4%) and music schools (27%).

The Zip Weekly Spending Index is based on anonymised transaction data from a sample of more than 1.5 million Zip customers and 300,000 Pocketbook users.