Consumer confidence crests for Christmas

By Greg Bell

Business can live or die by consumer sentiment. If it's weak, then retailers might see a lot less attention and cash flow. If it's strong, then the opposite occurs. It's pretty basic, really. But with the release of the latest Westpac-Melbourne Institute Consumer Sentiment Index, there is a lot of positivity in the wings for Gold Coast commercial operators.

Rising while the others fall

According to the media release from Westpac and the Melbourne Institute, national consumer confidence actually dropped from 101.7 across November to 100.8 at the start of this month. That being said, Westpac's chief economist Bill Evans notes that this is a better result than the same time last year.

"The Index has held on to most of the gains from last month's surprise 4 per cent lift and is 10.7 per cent above its levels this time last year," he said.

"There have only been two months since January 2014 with higher index readings."

Meanwhile, the Queensland result actually pipped the national one at the post. We saw a consumer confidence index of 100.9 for December, which is a huge increase of 13.4 points. According to state treasurer Curtis Pitt, this is the best result the Sunshine State has seen since August.

"This result shows growing confidence in the strength of the Queensland economy and is a terrific boost for the state's retailers in the weeks before Christmas," he added in a 9 December press release. This comes hot on the heels of Deloitte giving good news about business conditions for Gold Coast commercial businesses.

And when you parse these results a little further, you can see the specific strengths that Queensland is exhibiting.

Families first

Mr Pitt has picked apart some particularly notable statistics from the Westpac report that bode well for Gold Coast retailers. For instance, between November and December, there was a 29.6 per cent jump in those who believe family financial situations are now better than they were 12 months ago. Furthermore, there was a 28.4 per cent increase in those who believe families' would have an improved financial setting over the coming year.

"There's never been a better time to invest in Queensland and both business and consumers are increasingly confident about our long-term economic prospects," he stated. 

Another interesting point to note from the Westpac survey is that 23.4 per cent of respondents identified real estate as the "wisest place for their savings". If you consider yourself part of this quarter, then maybe investment in commercial property on the Gold Coast is a decision to consider. After all, commercial yields tend to be well above what residential real estate offers. 

Employment levels might be another factor playing into this strong consumer confidence level. Treasurer Pitt noted that since the last election, unemployment has dropped from 6.5 per cent to 6.3 per cent, and has remained there since – yet another boom for the economy.

Positives before Christmas

According to the Australian Retailers Association, as a country we're going to spend $46.7billion this Christmas. It's a new record, and one that reflects the strong consumer confidence on display in this index. Anyone with a retail lease on the Gold Coast will be thrilled with the news – it isn't just a present for consumers, it's a bonus for business. 

When you want to enquire about commercial property on the Gold Coast, get in touch with Ray White Surfers Paradise. We'll have everything you need. 

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