Published June 17 2021
Melbourne’s slow return to the office was abruptly interrupted by a fourth lockdown in late May – and it had a similar impact on spending in the region as seen in previous editions, ANZ data show.
Data for Victoria from March 26 show a gradual rise in spending compared to the same period in 2019, in the immediate wake of rule changes which saw 100 per cent of workers allowed back into the office. This trend peaked at roughly 20 per cent higher than the previous corresponding period on April 23.
Spending in Melbourne’s central business district tracked a similar path, albeit off a lower base. Some 30 per cent lower compared to pre-pandemic 2019 when the restrictions eased, spending closed the gap less than 20 per cent by April 23.
As you can see in the animation below, the May 26 lockdown put an end to those highs.
Spending fell close to 10 per cent lower than 2019, Victoria-wide, in the aftermath of the lockdown. In Melbourne’s CBD, it was closer to 75 per cent, before picking up slightly further into June.
Such indicators were not unexpected. In February, the same ANZ data showed consumer spending fell 18.2 per cent compared to the same period in 2020, after a similar snap-lockdown was enacted. That decline was quick to recover to trend.
Many sectors that rely on office workers saw a return of just 70 per cent of 2019 spending in the weeks between the return-to-office ruling and May lockdown, ANZ data show.
Food and drink, car parking and clothing spending all plummeted after May 26, with clothing hit by over 90 per cent.
ANZ uses disaggregated spending data to provide its customers with unparalleled insight into significant markets movements such as lockdowns, Anurag Soin, Director, Data Science, ANZ Institutional, said.
“Data sets like these have proven invaluable for ANZ customers as they continue to work through the recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic,” he said.
“We will continue to work with our customers to ensure they have access to our latest insights, allowing them to get on top of the ongoing risks associated with the pandemic.”
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