4940.0 - Household Impacts of COVID-19 Survey, 10-15 June 2020  
Latest ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 29/06/2020   
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Spending

Key findings

  • Of a selected list of goods or services, the items on which the most Australians reported their usual spending had decreased during COVID-19 restrictions were eating out (87% of people), child care fees (85%), recreation or leisure activities (79%), public transport (73%) and personal care (64%).
  • Of those whose spending had decreased during COVID-19 restrictions, a majority expect to increase their spending on recreation activities (74%); eating out (74%), private transport (73%), personal care (70%), childcare (66%*) and public transport (55%).

Spending during and after COVID-19 restrictions

The survey asked questions on spending habits during and as restrictions were easing for a range of goods and services. This included spending on:
  • take-away or delivered meals
  • eating out at cafés, restaurants, pubs or bars
  • clothing and footwear
  • personal care (e.g. hairdressers, barbers, beauty services and products)
  • household furnishings and equipment (e.g. sofa, desk, electrical goods)
  • private transport, including ongoing vehicle running costs
  • public transport, including taxi and ride sharing fares
  • child care fees
  • recreation or leisure activities (e.g. going to cinemas, playing sports, gym).

COVID-19 restrictions began easing in all states and territories from mid-May. The survey was conducted in mid-June when many restrictions had eased. As circumstances were different for each state and territory, respondents were not asked to consider a specific time frame for these questions.

Spending during COVID-19 restrictions

Excluding Australians who never used or bought the specific goods and services mentioned, the survey found that during COVID-19 restrictions:
  • The majority (87%) decreased their spending on eating out at cafés, restaurants, pubs or bars, whilst approximately one in ten (12%) kept their spending the same.
  • Nearly four in five (79%) decreased their spending on recreation or leisure activities (e.g. going to cinemas, playing sports, gym).
  • Three quarters (73%) decreased their spending on public transport, including taxis and ride sharing.
  • Nearly two-thirds (64%) decreased their spending on personal care (e.g. hairdressers, barbers, beauty services and products).
  • Just over two in five (44%) decreased their spending on clothing and footwear, whilst half (51%) kept their spending the same.
  • Three in five (61%) kept their spending the same on household furnishings and equipment, whilst approximately one in ten (12%) increased their spending on these items.
  • One quarter (24%) increased their spending on take-away or delivered meals and nearly half (48%) kept their spending the same.

Persons aged 18 years and over spending on goods and services, change in spending during COVID-19 restrictions
Graph image for persons aged 18 years and over spending on goods and services showing change in spending during COVID-19 restrictions
Footnote(s): (a) Includes going to cinemas, playing sports, gym. (b) Includes taxi and ride sharing fares. (c) Includes hairdressers, barbers, beauty services and products. (d) Includes ongoing vehicle running costs. (e) Includes sofa, desk, electrical goods.

© Commonwealth of Australia 2020

Expected future spending with easing or lifting of COVID-19 restrictions

Respondents who reported an increase or decrease in spending on selected goods and services during COVID-19 restrictions were asked whether, given restrictions were easing, they expected their spending patterns to change.

For those who had decreased their spending during the COVID-19 restrictions, Table 1 shows the proportions who expect their spending to increase, or remain the same, as restrictions ease. Of these people:
  • A majority expected to increase their spending on recreational or leisure activities (74%), eating out (74%), private transport (73%), personal care (70%), childcare (66%*) and public transport (55%) compared to their reduced expenditure during the COVID-19 restrictions.
  • The majority of Australians who had reduced expenditure on household furnishings (72%*) and clothing and footwear (52%) expected to continue to spend lower amounts on these items as COVID-19 restrictions ease.
  • Expectations of those who had decreased their expenditure on take-away food were evenly split between those who expected to increase their expenditure (45%) and those who expected it to remain the same as during the COVID-19 restrictions (48%).

Table 1: Persons aged 18 years who noted spending had decreased during COVID-19 restrictions, change expected in future spending (a)

Increase
Stay the same

%
%

Household furnishings and equipment (b)
23.5
71.5*
Clothing and footwear
44.1
52.2
Take-away or delivered meals
45.3
48.1
Public transport (c)
55.3
37.8
Child care fees
66.2*
31.2*
Personal care (d)
69.9
28.1
Private transport (e)
73.4
25.1
Eating out at cafés, restaurants, pubs or bars
73.9
22.4
Recreation or leisure activities (f)
74.0
20.0

Footnote(s): (a) ‘decrease’ and ‘don’t know’ responses have not been included (b) Includes sofa, desk, electrical goods. (c) Includes taxi and ride sharing fares. (d) Includes hairdressers, barbers, beauty services and products. (e) Includes ongoing vehicle running costs. (f) Includes going to cinemas, playing sports, gym

© Commonwealth of Australia 2020

Of the 24% of Australians who reported that they had increased their usual expenditure on take-away or delivered meals over half (56%*) expected to decrease their spending when restrictions ease.