The coronavirus lockdown may have changed Australian shopping habits forever, with spending on online food delivery up 192 per cent.
With families now used to doing their online supermarket orders, they may be unlikely to venture back into stores regularly, even when the lockdown ends.
Online gambling has also risen by 71 per cent, with pokies closed across the country, and there has been a surge in demand for subscription TV services.
But many households have been use the time to try some DIY, with spending on home improvements up 38 per cent and furniture shopping up 57 per cent as people kit out their home office.
Taking the biggest hit was the gym and fitness industry, with spending down 95 per cent, followed by entertainment venues, with people spending 85 per cent less.
Tables and chairs in an empty bistro area is seen at the Notting Hill pub on March 23 in Melbourne (pictured), with spending on entertainment down 85 per cent across Australia
Spending on food delivery, including Uber Eats and Menulong, has shot up by 192 per cent (pictured in Sydney)
Instead of drinking in pubs and hotels, Australians are instead turning to the bottle shop, with spending having increased by 35 per cent on alcohol and tobacco.
Data from analytics firm, AlphaBeta, showed far less money was being spent on usually pricey essentials, such as public transport and travel.
With thousands of Australians now set up to work from home, those spending habits could be unlikely to ever go back to normal.
‘There are a lot of consumer trends that this crisis has really accelerated,’ Dr Andrew Charlton, an economic advisor to Kevin Rudd, told the Sydney Morning Herald.
‘In some ways Australia has been a bit of a laggard in online shopping, but this crisis has forced many people to get a login, open an account and work out how things work.
‘And I don’t think they’ll ever go back.’
In total, spending across the whole economy was 14 per cent lower than is average for the last week, April 13-20, in a normal year.
A lone person walks through an empty shopping arcade on April 5 in Melbourne, as total spending plummeted by 14 per cent last week, compared to an average April
Instead of drinking in pubs and hotels, Australians are instead turning to the bottle shop (pictured), with spending having increased by 35 per cent on alcohol and tobacco
Much of the country’s high street was already struggling before the pandemic hit, partly due to the rise in online shopping.
Household names like Harris Scarfe, Bardot, Roger David, and Napoleon Perdis have all shut their doors in the past year, resulting in heavy job losses.
With online shopping now more popular than ever, there are fears the retail apocalypse will only get worse.
The figures showed the lockdown also had the risk of increasing inequality.
It has given wealthy families the chance to save, while poorer households are increasingly out of pocket.
Spending has plummeted across Sydney’s most affluent areas, including the likes of mansion-lined Mosman, Vaucluse and the city’ eastern beaches.
Australians have also used the opportunity to do DIY, with with spending on home improvements up 38 per cent (pictured, queues at Bunnings in Myaree on March 28)
The gym and fitness industry has also taken a hit, with spending down 95 per cent (pictured, an empty Muscle City gym on March 23 in Melbourne)
CORONAVIRUS SPENDING IN AUSTRALIA
The coronavirus pandemic may have permanently changed Australian shopping habits.
Many industries are struggling, while others have seen a surge in sales.
Food delivery: +192%
Online gambling: +71%
Furniture and office: +57%
Home improvement: +38%
Alcohol and tobacco: +35%
Gyms and fitness: -95%
Entertainment and venues: -85%
Public transport: -82%
Road tolls: -52%
Meanwhile, households in lower income areas – such as Penrith and Blacktown – have forked out more than ever, spending on essentials such as groceries and utility bills.
Those living in the wealthier areas had the opportunity to protect their savings by reducing spending on leisure items.
But poorer families, who don’t usually spend much on non-essentials, have nothing to cut back on – and are even having to dip into any savings to feed their family.
The one-off payment of $750, given to pensioners and other households who receive social security benefits, did help people to spend earlier in April.
Thousands of Australians, particularly those in the services industries, have lost their jobs thanks to the coronavirus lockdown, with queues seen outside Centrelink offices across the country.
Despite the income inequality, the figures also showed that people living in less affluent areas had increased their donations to the charity during the crisis.
Donations were up in Penrith, Central Coast, Campbelltown and Blacktown.
Meanwhile, charity spending had fallen in most affluent areas, such as Willoughby, Woollahra, Waverley and Ku-ring-gai.
With the international travel ban, and a ban on travelling between states, spending on travel has plummeted by 72 per cent (pictured, Sydney airport on March 25)
Domino’s Pizza and other takeaway food services have seen a huge rise in business during the pandemic
HOUSEHOLDS WHO ARE SAVING AND SPENDING DURING LOCKDOWN
During the COVID-19 lockdown, more affluent areas are spending less, while those in lower-income areas are not.
SAVERS (spending down)
SPENDERS (spending up)
Canada Bay: +16%
Last week, the International Monetary Fund this week predicted the Australian economy would contract by 6.7 per cent this year.
The global economy by comparison was expected to shrink by three per cent in 2020.
Export volumes were expected to plunge as coronavirus affected China, Australia’s biggest trading partner, and other wealthy nations.
The treasury is expecting the jobless rate to surge to ten per cent by the end of June, a rate unseen since early 1994.
Australia’s unemployment rate shot up to 11.2 per cent in December 1992, even though the last recession in 1991 had technically ended 18 months earlier.
At that point, it was the highest jobless rate since the 1930s when at least one in five people were without work.
Online gambling has also increased during the pandemic, with spending up by 71 per cent
Even before the coronavirus pandemic, an increasing infatuation with online shopping, and very tight spending patterns due to giant mortgages and climbing bills, meant fewer people were making the trek to local shops.
Australian retail growth is at its worst level since the early 1990s recession as Amazon and other online retailers driving local brands out of the market.
Harris Scarfe, founded in 1849, took consumers by surprise when it entered administration in December and is now about to close at least 21 stores.
Days later the country’s sixth-largest wine company McWilliam’s Wines, which has been around for 140 years, announced it appointed voluntary administrators.
Popular video game chain EB Games was the next to announce it had gone bust.
Major fashion chain Bardot revealed plans to close 58 stores nationwide before March.
Unemployment has risen across Australia thanks to the coronavirus lockdown (pictured, people queuing outside Centrelink in Melbourne on April 20)
Queensland University of Technology retail expert Dr Gary Mortimer said Australian companies were not being quick enough to adapt to the changing retail landscape and consumer preference.
‘We’ve seen a lot of market changes in Australia over the last decade, with global fashion retailers entering the market base and Aldi almost 20 years ago,’ he told 9news.
‘We have consumer changes and too much choice out there in the marketplace.’
In January popular jewellery and accessories chain Colette by Colette Hayman was placed into voluntary administration despite making $140million last year.
Administrators from Deloitte Restructuring Services said the country’s dire retail climate was at the centre of the business’s failure.