Are you over it?
Have you had had enough of Coronavirus and ready to get on with your life?
According to research by ANZ Bank, the internet searching behaviour of Australians suggests that the fear of and interest in COVID-19 has subsided considerably.
Here’s what a recent ANZ report by economists, Hayden Dimes and David Plank had to say….
During the peak in infections, there was a lot of searching for symptoms of the virus, like “sore throat” and “fever”.
Compared to recent history, the volume of searching for such terms far exceeded normal, even for winter, leading ANZ to believe the rise was driven by COVID-19 concerns.
The fear of COVID-19 looks to have passed in Australia
As this search intensity has returned to normal, ANZ think people are worrying less; and Australia’s success in containing the pandemic is likely to be part of this.
Consistent with this, searching for “coronavirus” is well off its highs, and Australians are now more interested in weather forecasts.
Weather is now receiving more searches than the coronavirus
With the spread of COVID-19 in Australia under control for now, states have continued to ease restrictions.
So far, this has not led to a spike in new cases, despite several indicators suggesting people have been moving about more over the last fortnight.
Australians continue to head out
Melbourne CBD foot traffic continues to rise
The pick-up in mobility has been broad based, with even the most restrictive state, Victoria, showing a rise in Melbourne CBD foot traffic.
The lift in weekend foot traffic has been even sharper
People are heading back to restaurants
Restaurants are now allowed in-house dining, and people are taking that opportunity.
From being down 100% y/y through the lockdown, restaurant bookings are now down around 90% y/y
This headline lift doesn’t capture the total desire to head back to restaurants, however, because most states have had a 10-person per venue limit.
With states like NSW moving to a 50-person limit on 1 June, it will be interesting to see how diners react.
We’re getting ready to travel
With regional travel in most states either allowed or soon to be allowed, people are thinking about travelling.
Searching for “Melbourne hotels” and “Sydney hotels” lifted quickly in recent weeks
Australians starting to look at domestic vacations
Airbnb is getting a lot more attention
It also looks like people are heading back to Airbnb, with searches up very sharply.
The sentiment is still a bit down, but improving
Sentiment has stabilised in the past two weeks.
Combining searches for terms like ‘recession’ and ‘unemployment’ into a single index suggests that sentiment is well off the lows and continues to improve (Figure 9).
This is consistent with ANZ’s consumer confidence rating.
Searching for unemployment benefits is back to normal
Another positive is that searches for “unemployment benefits” have effectively returned to pre-crisis levels.
Source: ANZ Economic Insight by economists, Hayden Dimes and David Plank.
This does not constitute personal advice, it does not consider your objectives or circumstance. The original document was intended for ANZ institutional, markets and private banking clients.
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