Consumer confidence returning as economy reopens 

Aaron Morey

CCIWA Chief Economist

 

WA consumer confidence has recovered ground, after plunging to record lows in the June Quarter. According to the latest Chamber of Commerce and Industry WA Consumer Confidence Survey, confidence is now back to the levels recorded in March.  

 

The progressive reopening of the WA economy, the successful management of COVID-19 and immense Federal support measures like JobKeeper, JobSeeker and the early release of superannuation, all underpinned the recovery in confidence.  

 

At the same time, almost twice as many Western Australians (38 per cent) still expect weaker conditions over the next three months, compared to those expecting improved conditions (21 per cent). 

 

Men were more confident in the future, likely due to the significant construction stimulus currently underway. Older Western Australians (45+) were also more confident than their younger counterparts. 

 

Looking across the regions, confidence was lowest in the Kimberley, with 45 per cent expecting weaker conditions over the next quarter compared to 32 per cent for the rest of the economy. 

 

Uncertainty about the behaviour of the virus and the security of WA jobs still lingers. Western Australians remained anxious about the prospect of further COVID-19 shutdowns of the economy placing their jobs at risk. Nearly half of respondents (47 per cent) cited concerns about another outbreak of COVID-19, either in WA or interstate. 

 

The expiry of stimulus measures is another major concern, particularly among young people. Nearly twice as many young people (41 per cent) were concerned as people over 45 (23 per cent). 

 

The survey results also highlight the significant impact that job insecurity is having on people’s personal lives during COVID-19. People with weak job security were much more likely to stockpile goods (33 per cent, compared to 25 per cent of people with stronger job security) and to report difficulties in their personal relationships (30 per cent, compared to 9 per cent of people with stronger job security). 

 

These results demonstrate that the reopening of the economy helps to underpin consumer confidence. Given the ongoing impacts of restrictions on businesses, it is important that Governments continually monitor their settings to ensure the right balance is struck.

 

The full CCIWA Consumer Confidence Survey – September 2020 report is attached.

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