Consumer Confidence was virtually unchanged at 103.3 (up 0.2pts) in mid-September. Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews outlined the State’s re-opening plan on Sunday afternoon but the full impact on confidence won’t be felt until next weekend.
Confidence remains well below the 2021 weekly average of 108.6 but is now 9.8 points higher than the same week a year ago, September 19/20, 2020 (93.5). It increased in both Queensland and South Australia and was virtually unchanged, and higher than anywhere else, in Western Australia at well over 110.
Driving this week’s increase was improving confidence about the year ahead with more people expecting to be better off financially this time next year and positive views about the Australian economy’s performance over the next year and next five years improving on a week ago.
Head of Australian Economics, David Plank, commented:
"Consumer confidence barely moved last week, rising just 0.2%. Last week’s labour market data revealed some softness in the economy with employment falling by 146k in August due to the prolonged lockdowns. This might have dampened sentiment, which fell 4.9% in NSW and 1.1% in Victoria. But confidence rose 7.3% in Queensland and 6.7% in South Australia, making up for the fall. Falling COVID case numbers in NSW plus Victoria’s plan for opening may boost confidence over the coming week. A notable development was the jump in inflation expectations to 4.7% for a second time this month. This could be due to the increase in retail petrol prices in the past two weeks."
Australians have been prioritising Buy Now Pay Later payment schemes in favour of credit cards. A staggering 670,000 people have ditched credit cards over the past year which is the equivalent of round 1 in 20 credit cards exiting the market.
With light at the end of the lockdown tunnel starting to become a bit brighter there has been a study conducted on consumers' anticipated spend habits as we emerge from lockdown. The study revealed that 47% of shoppers are planning on making a major purchase Post Pandemic, with 40% looking forward to spending on things like dining out and entertainment. This could potentially be as a result of Australian households reportedly saving around $140 billion dollars during the Covid pandemic, with 26% of Australians saying their families are better off financially this time than last year.
With states approaching the higher vaccination rates, we saw increases in mobility across the locked down states.
Sydney: There were increases across Driving, Walking and Transit in Sydney, though whilst Driving is only down 24%, Transit is still struggling at -71% compared to the norm.
Melbourne: Melbourne & Sydney had similar stories, with mobility up but still down on the norm. Driving and Walking are at -28% and -38% vs the average, and whilst Transit is at -68%, that has been a 12 percentage points growth in the last three weeks.
Brisbane: Brisbane is following the nationwide trend that we saw after the first lockdown. Driving is actually +26% compared to the norm, largely because of the number of people using public transport down at -11%.
Source: Apple Mobility Data https://covid19.apple.com/mobility
After several key premieres last week, the highest rated, non-news show continues to be The Block, which is outperforming the new tentpole competitors of The Masked Singer, Making It and SAS Australia across both TTL PPL and P25-54. As we enter the final two weeks of the season, viewership is holding steady at 855,000.
The AFL Grand Final aired on Saturday 25th September and overnight figures show a live national viewership of 3.91m - making it the largest viewing event of the year thus far and the strongest AFL final since 2016. Taking BVOD audiences into consideration, the total combined audience reached over 4.0m. Prior to the Grand Final, there had been no televised games for the past two weeks off the back of the prelim-finals, which consistently outperformed Nine and Seven news. As such, the strongest overall period of sports viewership nationally remains the finals run of the AFL.
The past week also saw the NRL Semi-finals, which drew 608,000 viewers for the Sea Eagles’ blowout of the Roosters and 690,000 for the Panthers’ close victory over the Eels. These figures are quickly ramping up (+41% from the quarter-finals) as we approach the Grand Final on 3rd Oct.
In more alarming news, the much anticipated third season of Love Island Australia (currently set for a 4th Oct premiere) is looking a little less certain. A member of the production team who travelled from Sydney to the Byron Bay set has tested positive for COVID, sending the Byron Bay and Tweed regions into a seven day snap lockdown. The local government has expressed disappointment with the production company, leading to speculation that the season will be postponed or cancelled outright, though Nine is yet to comment on the situation.
Source: Nielsen eTAM (Aug-Sep 2021)
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