Consumer confidence highest since 2013

The four-year high in West Australians’ consumer confidence is continuing its hot streak, but further growth is constrained by cost of living pressures for households.

This is the message from CCI’s survey of consumer confidence – the only survey of its kind in WA – which canvasses the views of adult consumers in Perth and regional WA.

The latest survey confirms that West Australians are feeling more confident about their short-term and medium-term prospects, both the highest since December 2013.

This growing confidence in WA’s economy is, however, coming off a low base following the unwinding of the mining construction boom. While there are green shoots in the economy and more optimism on the horizon, a more positive outlook for the WA economy is slowly filtering to households.

One in three WA consumers reported spending more than they earned last quarter, while 65 per cent cited costs such as groceries, utilities and transport as their biggest dampener on confidence.

Sixty-four per cent of consumers indicated they would not be making a major household purchase of more than $2000 in the coming quarter, while 18 per cent said they were unable to pay off their credit card debt in full at the end of the month.

Cost of living is the most important issue to voters in every state, including WA, according to national polling of 2350 Australians, commissioned by CCI.

Perceptions of the State and Federal governments’ roles in managing the economy are improving in WA.

Thirty-four per cent of consumers believed State Government activities positively influenced their confidence in the economy, up six per cent, while the Federal Government’s influence rose eight per cent to 28 per cent.

An additional 10 per cent of consumers earning less than $60,000 believed the Federal Government impacted positively on their outlook, which is likely linked to recently introduced income tax cuts.

CCI’s success in convincing the Productivity Commission that the GST distribution should be changed to boost the national economy, and the Federal Government’s interim response, will boost confidence in WA households if the reforms proceed.

For too long WA’s GST share has weighed heavily on the minds of businesses and consumers and this may finally change.

Both the Federal and State governments must continue to help attract business investment in WA so that new jobs can continue to be created and confidence continues to rise.

► To read CCI’s Survey of Consumer Confidence click here

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