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How much are Australians predicted to spend this Christmas?

  • November 20 2020
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How much are Australians predicted to spend this Christmas?

By Cameron Micallef
November 20 2020

Despite the COVID-19 recession, Australians have indicated that they will spend over $54.3 billion across retail stores during the Christmas trading period, new research has shown.

How much are Australians predicted to spend this Christmas

How much are Australians predicted to spend this Christmas?

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  • November 20 2020
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Despite the COVID-19 recession, Australians have indicated that they will spend over $54.3 billion across retail stores during the Christmas trading period, new research has shown.

How much are Australians predicted to spend this Christmas

Stats collated by Roy Morgan with the Australian Retailers Association (ARA) shows Australians intended to spend 2.8 per cent more from the $52.9 billion in retail expenditure during the 2019 festive season.

ARA CEO Paul Zahra said the predictions for Christmas trading reflected the significant changes in spending patterns seen due to COVID-19 and were underpinned by the government stimulus response as well as recent responses to border controls and state restrictions:

“Retail sales growth of 2.8 per cent year-on-year would be an incredible achievement given the barriers that retailers have bravely faced throughout 2020 – though there continue to be clear winners and losers within the retail categories,” he said.  

The survey data across six categories – including food, household goods, clothing, footwear and accessories, department stores, other retailing and hospitality – shows uneven growth over this festive period. 

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Hospitality businesses are predicted to decline by 18.7 per cent due to social distancing in many states, falling down to $6.1 billion, while clothing, footwear and accessories are also expected to ball by 12.2 per cent, declining to $3.71 billion.

Unsurprisingly, the largest percentage increasing in spending is predicted for the food category, with pre-Christmas spending forecast to grow by a large 10 per cent from a year ago to over $23.8 billion. 

Analysis of Roy Morgan’s pre-Christmas retail forecasts by state and territory shows strong growth is expected in Queensland, Western Australia, South Australia and Tasmania although there are predicted to be declines in the two states most impacted by COVID-19, Victoria and NSW.

Christmas retail spending in Queensland is forecast to grow by 9.3 per cent to almost $11.8 billion, while spending in Western Australia is predicted to increase 14.2 per cent to nearly $6.4 billion. 

Spending is forecast to grow strongly in South Australia by 11.8 per cent to over $3.8 billion and up by 10.5 per cent to $1.2 billion in Tasmania, while there are also increases predicted for both the ACT and Northern Territory.

Roy Morgan’s CEO, Michele Levine, noted that government support and strong results on the health front are encouraging consumers.

“When Australia locked down in March to deal with the rapidly spreading COVID-19, many expected 2020 would be a disastrous year for retailers. However, unprecedented government action to stimulate the economy has supported many retailers throughout a tough year, which is expected to see continued retail growth,” she said.

However, she pointed out that having a forecast in 2020 with an evolving COVID situation could be difficult.

“Of course, in a year of surprises, there is a larger degree of uncertainty than normal when making forecasts about spending patterns for the weeks and months ahead. Just this week we see a renewed outbreak of COVID-19 in SA, which has already caused WA Premier Mark McGowan to re-impose a mandatory two-week quarantine on all visitors from Adelaide only one day after relaxing the entry conditions after more than six months.

“These uncertainties mean there is a chance any forecast could be made to ‘look stupid’ if prevailing conditions change significantly and borders which are in the process of reopening are forced to slam shut again over the next few days or weeks.”

How much are Australians predicted to spend this Christmas?
How much are Australians predicted to spend this Christmas
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About the author

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Cameron is a journalist for Momentum Media's nestegg and Smart Property Investment. He enjoys giving Aussies practical financial tips and tricks to help grow their wealth and achieve financial independence. As a self-confessed finance nerd, Cameron enjoys chatting with industry experts and commentators to leverage their insights to grow your portfolio.

About the author

Cameron is a journalist for Momentum Media's nestegg and Smart Property Investment. He enjoys giving Aussies practical financial tips and tricks to help grow their wealth and achieve financial independence. As a self-confessed finance nerd, Cameron enjoys chatting with industry experts and commentators to leverage their insights to grow your portfolio.

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