Businesses hit by weakened consumer spending, CBA data shows

Businesses continue to face tough conditions as Aussies keep close tabs on their spending.

Consumer spending remains down on June 2011 figures, according to the Commonwealth Bank of Australia's (CBA) latest business sales indicator (BSI).

This could have serious implications for companies, who are being urged to reassess their business models.

CBA acting executive general manager for local business banking Gary McGrath explained: "Even though our economy is in good shape, consumers overall don't see the need to spend and they aren't being given any reason to do so.

"[Businesses] need to ensure they are well prepared for dealing with a more absent consumer. That includes reviewing their business models and focusing on areas like productivity and efficiency."

When Aussies do decide to make use of their hard-earned dollars, they tend to be looking for bargains.

The latest Roy Morgan Research figures show web sales increased by 14.2 per cent between June 2011 and June 2012.

This could be a signal for businesses to get online, with one in three Aussies now purchasing something on the internet in the average month.

The BSI study tracks the value of credit and debt card transactions across a sample of approximately 30 per cent of the Australian market.

However, there are signs of improvement in some sectors on a month-to-month basis.

Clothing stores saw sales increase by 0.8 per cent between August and July, while transportation and automotive were among the weakest performing sectors.

CBA chief economist Craig James has urged businesses to pay close attention to the BSI data, which is a good gauge of consumer spending behaviour.

He suggested they are an excellent way of understanding the profile of the modern "smart consumer". Mr James said businesses must adapt and ensure their offers are tailored in a way that enables them to continue to perform strongly in the face of weakened spending.

Got a question about credit cards? Ask the money experts at Mozo Answers.ADNFCR-1761-ID-801458303-ADNFCR