Equity Strategy Spending intent in Australia outpaces income, as high income consumers turn positive

There has been a strong rebound in Australian consumer spending since Q2. While consumers have noted they have cut their spending in the past 12 months, a greater share now look to increase spending ahead.

21 Aug 2020

Consumer have decreased their spending in thr past 12 months, but intend on spending more ahead

Source: UBS Evidence Lab. How will your spending change over the next 12 months?

This chart shows consumers have decreased their spending in the past 12 months, but intend on spending more ahead

Spending intentions up more than income (driven by high-income households)

The fifth wave of the UBS Evidence Lab consumer survey was conducted in the first two weeks of July (pre-Victoria lockdown). The survey indicates spending and income intentions have improved since the last survey in April, with spending up more than income. Three key findings are

  1. spending intentions and income expectations were both up with spending intentions rising by more,
  2. high-income households (>$120k) saw the largest improvement and
  3. more consumers are looking to buy property and cars despite higher unemployment

Future surveys (especially the October update) will reveal if the bounce in spending is sustained, given Victorian consumers were feeling less positive and channel checks suggest a slow-down in spending after Victoria lockdowns. Household savings buffers also remain well below the average time it takes to find a job.

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