“Combine that with the boredom of being at home and the extra money – maybe government payments or extra savings – and maybe this addicting new technology is slipping away a bit.”
Simon Bligh, chief executive of illion, said it seemed like people had turned to online gambling for fun during the lockdowns.
“There’s really nowhere else to spend your money in Sydney and Melbourne if you want quick entertainment,” he said.
Pets in Sydney and Melbourne were pampered during both lockdown periods. Spending for them during this year’s stay-at-home orders peaked 66% above the pre-pandemic norm – an even bigger jump than during the 2020 restrictions. The tracker shows that Expenses for pets have been high since the start of the pandemic.
When the lockdowns were imposed last year, spending on consumer electronics jumped 160% above normal levels. After declining earlier this year, the amount spent on electronic gadgets again increased to be nearly 150% higher than usual during this year’s restrictions.
The travel industry has been hit hard by restrictions and border closures during the early stages of the pandemic. But holiday spending did not drop as much during the 2021 closures as it did last year.
Dr Charlton said many consumers appeared to anticipate the end of the restrictions and plan for future vacations.
“In a sense, it’s COVID 2.0 and we have a much better idea of what our future will be like,” he said.
Few industries have been hit harder than recreation, fitness and entertainment during the pandemic, but the decline in spending in these sectors during the 2021 shutdowns was not as severe as last year.