Australians are expected to spend $53 billion this Christmas as the season of giving delivers a slight boost in revenue for retailers compared to last year.
Releasing the Australian Retailers Association predictions for the peak season ahead, executive director Russell Zimmerman noted 2019 had been a tough year for retailers, and could be further compounded by any additional natural disasters in the weeks ahead.
“We live in the best country on Earth, but that comes with some terrible drawbacks; one of those is summer disasters – fires, cyclones, floods – that sadly afflict some parts of the country,” Mr Zimmerman said.
“The ARA is expecting a solid if unspectacular retail trade as Christmas approaches,” he added.
The Christmas period ahead
In total this year’s anticipated revenue of $53 billion is up 2.6 per cent on revenue over the same period in 2018.
That’s a modest increase compared to years gone by, but should deliver at least a little Christmas cheer to a sector which has experienced muted figures over recent months.
Last year the sector anticipated $51 billion in expenditure, which was a rise of 2.9 per cent on 2017.
So, where and when will this year’s expenditure occur, and what are people looking to buy?
What will people buy?
Food is set to command the greatest spending, with Australians tipped to fork out $21.68 billion on festive fare. That’s an increase of 3.2 per cent on the same period last year.
“Sales of food are tipped to be very strong, at over $21 billion; whether it’s a cold seafood buffet or a roast turkey with the trimmings, Australians love their Christmas lunch or dinner, and these figures show 2019 will be no different,” Mr Zimmerman said.
Household goods are next on the list, reaping an $8.8 billion revenue reward for retailers (up 0.6 per cent on 2018).
That’s followed by clothing, with an estimated $4.17 billion to be spent on clothing, footwear and accessories (up 3 per cent on last year), while department stores will take a $2.975 billion slice of the retail pie (up a modest 0.5 per cent on 2018).
Almost $7.65 billion will then be spent on “other retail,” which encompasses online, and is set to deliver the strongest increase (3.7 per cent) across all retail categories.
Meanwhile, hospitality is in for an expected $7.45 billion boost (up 2.3 per cent on 2018).
Stats by the states
When it comes to which states are tipped to spend the most, New South Wales leads the charge. They’re expected to spend $16.78 billion (up two per cent on 2018).
Victoria is next in line, spending $13.84 (a three per cent rise on 2018), then Queensland with an expected spend of $10.62 billion (up 3.6 per cent on 2018), Western Australia with $5.52 billion (up 1.7 per cent), South Australia with $3.42 billion (up 2.1 per cent), Tasmania with $1.06 billion (up 2.3 per cent), the ACT with $984 million (up 2.6 per cent) and the NT with $490 million (up 0.4 per cent).
The ARA’s Christmas trading predictions were compiled in association with Roy Morgan and cover the period from November 14 to December 24.