Consumer confidence has picked up where it left off, before last year's general election, according to the latest Westpac McDermott Miller survey for March.

Westpac said confidence had recovered its post-election drop, and was now back around average levels.

The bank said spending appetites have increased and households 'still don't seem focused on paying down debt".

The Westpac McDermott Miller Consumer Confidence Index rose 3.8 points in March, taking it to a level of 111.2 - reversing most of the drop seen in the wake of last year's election.


"It's not unusual to see a bit of nervousness around major events like elections, or for the related wobbles in confidence to fade after a few months," Westpac senior economist Satish Ranchhod said.

Political developments aren't the only thing affecting confidence right now, Ranchhod said.

"The past few months have also seen mortgage rates pushing down and a related second wind in the housing market. We've also continued to see positive conditions in some key sectors of the economy, like the hospitality sector," it said.

Looking into the detail of what's behind the lift in consumer confidence, Westpac said households are feeling more optimistic about the outlook for their own financial situation over the coming year.

"They have also become more upbeat about the economy's longer-term trajectory more generally," it said.

The lift in confidence was widespread across geographic regions and household groups.
The survey was conduted from March 1 to March 15 and had a sample szie of 1,552.