Home renovations and improvements drive consumer spending in October


Consumer spending data from Zip’s Weekly Spending Index, reveals how consumer spending has centred around home improvements, gambling and outdoor activities in the final months of 2020.

After months of lockdown measures across the country, Australians are ensuring that their homes remain their castles. Rather than spending on vacations, or even staycations, many consumers are instead choosing to invest heavily in their homes.

Key insights from Zip’s Weekly Spending Index, October 2020, include:

  • In line with the Federal Government’s HomeBuilder scheme, home improvements are on the rise, with spend increasing across landscaping, trade services, installations and renovation services.
  • Driven by national sporting events, gambling increased in October. 
  • Australians are using the final months of 2020 to master new hobbies and skills, turning to outdoor recreational activities like boating, surfing and bowling and in some cases, extreme sports like axe-throwing and rock climbing. 
  • Pets are the real winners of 2020, benefitting from both increased attention from owners spending more time at home and an increase in pet-related consumer spending.
  • Impacted by ongoing COVID-19 restrictions and despite increases in electronics and department store spending, the retail industry continues to struggle, with consumer spending down throughout October. 

Peter Gray, Co-founder and COO of Zip said:
“We’re seeing the government’s HomeBuilder Scheme continue to bear fruit throughout October, as more and more Australians take advantage of the subsidies and possibly redirect funds saved for holidays into home renovations. With well over 11,000 applications for the program submitted and an extension of the program likely, the scheme is providing effective stimulation for the sector. We wouldn’t be surprised to see consumer spending in the home construction and renovation sector continue to grow.

Driven by some of the biggest sporting events on the Australian calendar and with restrictions still in place across Victoria throughout the month of October, it was unsurprising to see an increase in consumer gambling. As has been a common occurrence throughout COVID-19, Australians have taken to online gambling more than usual.

“What remains unclear is the impact of the ongoing uncertainty for consumers in regards to border and travel restrictions in the lead up to the Christmas period. A decrease  in accommodation spend suggests that consumers aren’t confident in their ability to lock in interstate plans.  As a result, businesses unable to open to full capacity over what would normally be the busiest time of the year, may struggle to fully recover in the New Year.”

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. Unlike other retail reports, the index provides a granular look at week-by-week changes in spending across different categories, providing fresh insights into consumer behaviour during the COVID-19 crisis.