AlphaBeta partners with illion to track the economic impact of COVID-19

AlphaBeta Australia has partnered with illion to deliver Australia’s fastest tracker of economic activity through COVID-19.

The AlphaBeta-illion real time tracker analyses consumer spending on a weekly basis, using data on about 250,000 Australians from leading credit bureau illion. This tool has provided valuable new insights into the state of the economy and the impact of government interventions. To date, it has found:

  • The Federal Government’s Coronavirus stimulus package, which delivered $750 lump-sum payments to 6.5 million low-income earners, helped arrest a sharp spending decline as COVID-19 restrictions came into effect in March.
  • Spending per person fell to a low of 20% below pre-COVID levels as the stimulus wore off. Gyms, entertainment, public transport and travel were the industries worst hit. Conversely, spending on food delivery, furniture and online gambling rose 60-200% above pre-COVID levels.
  • The Coronavirus supplement and superannuation early access scheme have helped boost spending to just 4% under pre-COVID levels as restrictions ease.
  • But early superannuation withdrawals have not been used as intended: of the 1.35 million Australians who applied for early access to their superannuation, 40% actually saw no drop in their income during the COVID-19 crisis. Only 22% of super withdrawals was used on essentials, while 64% was spent on discretionary purchases including gambling (11%) and clothing (10%).

Our analysis has been quoted regularly in the media, with the Sydney Morning Herald calling it “an important guide for government policy as the economy gradually recovers from the coronavirus shock”.

The tracker is updated weekly and can be accessed via the link below.

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