Albertans are starting to spend again.
Total consumer spending across the province this June was 5.2 per cent higher than in June of last year, according to The Owl, which publishes daily economic updates from from ATB Financial's research team.
However, spending was 0.6 per cent lower in July.
"It remains to be seen if the upswing represents a burst of pent-up spending that will taper off in the months ahead or a more sustained trend, but there has been some pullback in July compared to June," ATB wrote.
Daily spending had dropped 31 per cent between mid-March and early April, but by late May spending had recovered to rise above pre-pandemic spending levels.
"It is important to stress that the rise in consumer spending — while a welcome development for retailers — does not mean that things are 'back to normal.' Overhead costs, profit margins, online shopping and other factors that play into the bottom line of retailers have also been affected by the pandemic," the ATB article read.
Online sales strong
Conrad Ferrel, cofounder of Calgary kombucha makers True Buch, said that when the pandemic hit, his company pivoted quickly to online, launching a web store in just five days.
"It's something we were always planning on doing … we didn't think it would be that popular," he said.
The company sells its kombucha in grocery stores, so it was unsure how well direct online sales would perform. But in about nine days, customers had placed 1,000 orders.
"We luckily only had to reduce our staff by one person, which is amazing, and we're on reduced hours. But if we didn't have the online system and online ordering and the support of our community, we wouldn't be able to do that."
Pippa Blair is the cofounder of natural deodorant company Routine. Her staff were hard at work Wednesday, packaging products to be shipped out.
"We had a little bit of a dip when COVID-19 hit, but over the last few months sales have really risen," she said.
"COVID-19 hasn't really slowed us down."
Blair said while she's glad to see consumer spending is on the rise, she hopes its on a local level.
Both Routine and True Buch have partnerships with brick-and-mortar businesses, and their founders say while online sales are great, it's important for customers to continue supporting local shops — either online or in-person.