Home > Industry > Coronavirus > Retailers Concerned As Australian Consumer Sentiment Hits Five-Year Low

Retailers Concerned As Australian Consumer Sentiment Hits Five-Year Low

Westfield Sydney

The Westpac-Melbourne Institute Index of Consumer Confidence has fallen by 3.8% to hit 91.9, from 95.5 in February.

This marks the index’s second lowest level since the GFC, when the index bottomed out at 79.

As a result of fears surrounding COVID-19 and its flow-on economic impacts – with the ASX dropping by 11.5% between February and March – consumers are evidently taking a more cautious approach, which is a concern for Australian retailers.

The index noted there are signs that “consumers are less inclined to spend”. The ‘time to buy a major household item’ sub-index also reached a five-year low, falling by 4.3% to 111.4. In addition to concerns about the economy, this could partly be due to an avoidance of public places.

The Unemployment Expectations Index jumped up 8.5% to 146.1 (higher readings indicate more consumers expect unemployment to rise).

However, consumers appear to be more concerned about the near-term outlook than the long-term ramifications of COVID-19: the ‘economy, next 12 months’ sub-index recorded the largest drop of all the categories, at -12.8%. By comparison, the ‘economy, next 5 years’ sub-index only fell by 1.3%.

Bucking the downward trend was a sharp 20% rebound in sentiment among respondents from regional NSW. This is likely due to bushfire aid efforts and increased rainfall as communities recover from the harsh bushfire season and severe drought.

You may also like
Dell Hit By Coronavirus But Wins Millions In Govt Deals
Covid Hits 50pc Of Aussie Biz
‘It’s Going To Last Forever’: Lenovo Sees Good Times Ahead
79% Of Australians Have Purchased Devices To Support Online Activities During COVID-19
Smartphone ODM Shipments Fall