The latest report from the Council of Small Business Organisations Australia (COSBOA) and Square has revealed some surprising trends in consumer spending. The report, which analyzes data from small businesses using Square’s payment processing platform, highlights several key insights into consumer behavior and spending patterns.

One of the most surprising findings is the significant increase in spending on luxury and non-essential items. Despite the economic challenges brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic, consumers are showing a growing appetite for indulgent purchases. The report found that spending on luxury items such as jewelry, high-end clothing, and leisure activities has seen a noticeable uptick in recent months. This shift in consumer behavior is a positive sign for small businesses that specialize in luxury or non-essential goods, as it indicates a potential rebound in discretionary spending.

Additionally, the report also highlights the continued growth of online shopping. With many consumers remaining cautious about venturing out to physical stores due to the ongoing pandemic, e-commerce has become an increasingly important channel for small businesses. According to the report, online sales have steadily increased, with a significant portion of consumers opting to shop from the comfort and safety of their own homes. This trend underscores the importance for small businesses to invest in their online presence and e-commerce capabilities to remain competitive in today’s digital marketplace.

Furthermore, the report indicates a shift in consumer preferences towards supporting local and independent businesses. With the heightened awareness of the challenges faced by small businesses during the pandemic, there has been a noticeable increase in consumers choosing to shop from local establishments. This trend is reflected in the report’s data, which shows a rise in spending at small, independent businesses across various sectors. This presents an opportunity for small businesses to capitalize on the growing support for local economies and independent entrepreneurs.

Another key insight from the report is the emergence of new spending habits and trends. As the pandemic continues to reshape consumer behavior, small businesses are seeing changes in the types of products and services that are in demand. From home improvement and fitness equipment to self-care and wellness products, there has been a notable shift in what consumers are prioritizing in their spending. Small businesses that are able to pivot and adapt to these evolving consumer preferences stand to benefit from these emerging trends.

Overall, the new COSBOA-Square report provides valuable insights into the changing landscape of consumer spending. It underscores the resilience of small businesses and their ability to adapt to shifting consumer behavior. As the economy continues to recover from the impact of the pandemic, these insights will be crucial for small businesses to navigate the evolving market and make informed decisions to drive growth and success.