Falling interest rates and the continuing boom in the mining sector has not been enough to prevent a collapse in consumer confidence amongst West Australian shoppers.
The WA Chamber of Commerce and Industry-Curtin Business School measure of consumer confidence fell to an all-time low in the December quarter.
But the survey also picked-up an improvement in households’ perception of their personal finances with 31 per cent of people saying their circumstances were better than a year ago.
And 37 per cent said they had saved more over the past 12 months, up from 32 per cent in the September quarter.
The report follows the release yesterday of the latest jobs figures which showed WA’s unemployment rate falling to 4.1 per cent.
Despite the pessimism, 54 per cent of WA households said they would spend the same amount this Christmas as they did last year, while over one fifth expected to spend more.
Chamber chief economist John Nicolaou said: "At the same time, fewer households expect to spend less this year with the percentage falling from 32 per cent in 2011 to just 23 per cent this year."
The average spend by West Australians this Christmas is expected to be $1,381, up 36 per cent from last year, the survey suggests.
According to the CCI survey, just 12 per cent of respondents believe the WA economy will improve over the next three months compared to 18 per cent in the previous survey.
Eighteen percent of those quizzed think the State economy will deteriorate over the coming three months.
Mr Nicolaou said a key issue for many West Australians was cost of living coupled with global economic events.
“Rising living costs and global economic news continue to be the two most important factors influencing consumer perceptions of the economy,” he said.
The survey found almost 75 per cent of people believed their utility costs had increased over the past year while 71 per cent said their grocery bills had climbed.
Fifty-three percent of those quizzed rated living costs as a major cost, down slightly from the 60 per cent measured in the September survey.
Forty-six percent noted global economic news as another major issue on their minds.
There was a fall in the proportion of people noting the political environment as an issue, down to 33 per cent from more than 40 per cent three months ago.
There was also a drop in concerns about personal employment.Mr Nicolaou says the pessimism is driven by rising living costs and moribund global economic conditions.
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