When it came to the pandemic, there are images which will remain seared on our minds as stand-out moments of an extraordinary year. One of these is the image of empty shop shelves and customers walking out with masses of toilet rolls as they prepared to lockdown at home for an unspecified amount of time.
Unsurprisingly, as supermarkets were one of the few places allowed to consistently remain open in the past year, their share prices rose in a downturn.
The same applied to consumer discretionary retailers as people furnished their home offices, stocked up on indoor sports equipment and ordered the necessary items for those endless Zoom meetings. There was also a boom for online stores which people turned to after being unable to leave their house to visit shopping malls.
The trend was unusual as the normal turn of events during a market downturn would be that people stopped spending to save money.
However, in this scenario, many people were actually gaining money during the pandemic as they had reduced commuting costs, received Government stimulus payments such as JobKeeper or JobSeeker, accessed their superannuation early or were spending less on holidays or business travel.
At the end of the June 2020 quarter, household wealth increased by 1.5% and by September 2020, one-in-five Australians increased their savings. In February 2021, almost half of households expected to save money in the next 12 months, according to...