May 31, 2017

NAB Customer Spending Behaviours: Q1 2017

New data released by NAB today shows that spending on consumption-based goods and services by NAB customers slowed to 2.0% over the year to Q1 2017, from 3.1% over the year to Q4 2016.

The data, based on around 4 million daily transactions, also revealed a fall in average monthly spending during the quarter to $1,997 in metropolitan or “city” areas ($2,171 in Q4 2016) and $1,866 in regional areas ($2,021 in Q4 2016).

According to NAB Group Chief Economist Alan Oster, “These findings reinforce recent official data which also paint a fairly downbeat picture of very soft consumer spending growth during the March quarter”.

“Given the sheer size of NAB’s customer base, it’s reasonable to assume that their spending behaviours are representative of our country as a whole” he said.

NAB’s customer spending slowed in all capital city metropolitan areas and regions (except Tasmania).

Overall spending growth in metropolitan areas eased to 1.6% in Q1 2017 (2.9% in Q4 2016), and to 3.2% in regional areas (3.5% in Q4 2016).

But spending behaviours continue to vary considerably across the country.

“In the capital cities, customer spending ranged from 6.2% in Hobart to -2.8% in Perth, where the post-mining slump impact on spending remains very evident” said Mr Oster.

In regional areas, spending was fastest in NSW (4.4%) and Victoria (4.1%), with Walgett NSW (28.7%), Yarriambiack VIC (21.0%), Gannawarra VIC (20.0%) and Inverell NSW (19.9%) the fastest growing regions in the country.

By category, spending growth was led by Arts & Recreation Services (12.0%), Financial & Insurance Services (7.9%) and Accommodation & Food Services (7.5%) and Other Services (5.4%).

“In the key Retail Trade segment, spending slowed to just 1.0%, with this overall subdued pace of growth also being reflected in generally weak retail trading conditions in the NAB Business Survey” said Mr Oster.

Accommodation & Food Services contributed the most to overall customer spending growth in the March quarter (34%), followed by Retail Trade (23%) and Financial & Insurance (17.0%).

Customer spending excludes mortgages and other credit facility payments and government services.

For further details, please see the attached document: