Finance Sydney raced ahead of Melbourne in pursuit of post-lockdown haircuts
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Sydney raced ahead of Melbourne in pursuit of post-lockdown haircuts

Post-lockdown
Sydneysiders splurged on themselves post-lockdown, while Melburnians were more subdued. Photo: Getty
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Australians splurged on everything from haircuts to gym memberships after lockdown, but Sydneysiders splashed more cash than Melburnians, new data shows.

Data released by Illion and Accenture on Friday shows Melbourne spent up to 450 per cent less than Sydney on personal expenses like haircuts and dining out after the Delta lockdowns ended in October.

This is despite previous survey results from NAB showing dining out and getting a haircut topped priorities in Victoria as its lockdown ended.

Accenture managing director Andrew Charlton said the “fascinating” comparison shows how keen people in Sydney were to “break free”.

“Melburnians, on the other hand, have been through numerous lockdowns,” Dr Charlton said.

“This wasn’t their first rodeo, so the pent-up demand was arguably less.”

BIS Oxford Economics chief economist Sarah Hunter said post-lockdown spending differences likely came down to two factors: length of lockdown and number of new COVID-19 cases.

Melbourne has endured the most days in lockdown in the world, but the most recent of its six lockdown lasted 77 days, compared to Sydney’s 106 days.

The longer lockdown likely left Sydneysiders more “desperate for a haircut”, Dr Hunter said.

“I don’t mean to play down what Melbourne went through in total in terms of lockdown, [but] this time around Sydney was obviously a longer stretch,” she said.

The two cities also had different COVID case numbers as lockdown ended, Dr Hunter said.

The last day of New South Wales’ lockdown marked the state’s lowest new cases in almost two months, down to 477.

However, Victoria experienced a near-record spike in cases on its last day of lockdown, up to 2232.

The state’s higher case numbers probably encouraged Melburnians to exercise more caution in going out for personal services, Dr Hunter said.

Although Victoria was slightly slower out of the gate than New South Wales, she said ultimately both states’ economies will experience a “relatively robust recovery”.

“I think vaccination rates are so high … people will become more comfortable living with COVID,” she said.

“But, Sydney’s probably going to be a little bit ahead [of Melbourne] for a while.”