Australian consumer spending figures, when adjusted seasonally, declined 1.9% for the month of December 2012.
Data published by the Commonwealth Bank‘s (CBA) business sales indicator shows that the fall comes after the 2.4% increase seen in November and continues the long erratic pattern in the country.
Sales for services providers (down 3.6%), hotels (down 1%) and automobile rentals (down 0.9%) were the chief contributors to the downfall seen in the month.
CBA general manager for local business banking and operations Lex Thornton remarked that the ongoing inconsistencies are indicative of the currently prevailing conservative consumer mood.
"Although the overall economic picture showed signs of improvement in the latter half of 2012, consumers are still proceeding with trepidation," said Thornton.
The BSI tracks the value of credit and debit card transactions processed through Commonwealth Bank point-of-sale terminals and provided positive returns for retail store sales that surged 7.4% for the month.
Contracted service sales were also on the ascendancy with a 4.9% jump.
In geographical terms, the Australian Capital Teritory and Victoria reported positive sales of 0.5% for the month while the Northern Territory and South Australia were down 0.3% each.
Annually adjusted figures, however, reveal that South Australia was the best performing state at 10.1% increase while Western Australia brought up the rear at a 4.1% increase.
Looking ahead to 2012, Thornton sounded cautious and said, "For 2013 it is important that businesses make sure they have solid processes and plans in place to navigate future volatility."