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Australian Open Boosts Melbourne SMBs

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By Published On: January 25, 20240 Comments

The Australian Open has provided a much needed boost to the retail industry with visitors and locals alike spending big.

Mastercard Economics Institute (MEI) has revealed Melbourne retailers in the fashion and experience sectors could be amongst the biggest winners of an anticipated 12.6 percent growth in sales during the Australian Open tennis tournament. 

The Australian Open, which takes place in Melbourne annually has this year been extended to cover three weekends instead of the usual two in mid January. Last year, the Australian open brought in a record 839,192 fans in attendance. This year, the organisers are expecting to welcome one million attendees to the tournament between January 14-28. 

Mastercard has found that digital payments are bringing a huge boost to small businesses across the CBD during this time as international guests and locals descend on the city, preferring the convenience and speed of digital payments. 

Looking back on AO2023, MEI found that digital payments bring a huge boost to small businesses. Digital and online modes of payments, such as mobile wallets and app-based food delivery services, also added an incremental boost to small businesses, with quick service restaurants (QSRs) surging in online spend during the tournament. Share of online spending at QSRs in the CBD was 2.2 percent higher vs. the remainder of Q1 2023. 

Share of spend of those operating in the hospitality sector during AO2023 was higher in the CBD versus the share of spend over the rest of Q1 2023, a trend which is expected to continue during this year’s tournament. 

“Each year the tennis sees Melbourne come alive as fans from around the country, and indeed the world, seek out the very best the sport and city have to offer,” said David Mann, chief economist, Asia Pacific at the Mastercard Economic Institute. “The data suggests the tournament provides a significant shot in the arm for the local economy, so tapping your phone at your local high street this January has more impact than you realise.” 

Mann says the impact extends beyond the Melbourne CBD, the ripple effects of the event are likely to be felt across the CBD neighbourhood and beyond, benefitting small and large businesses in both the experiences and goods industries.

 “The reach of the tournament goes far beyond Melbourne Park, and for two weeks every January, Australians turn up at their local pub to watch with friends, discuss the matches over a meal, or even head to the local sports store to pick up a racquet and hit the court themselves – all of which give small businesses a much-needed boost to their bottom line.”  

About the Author: Rosalea Catterson

Rosalea is the Editor of Power Retail. With a keen interest in consumer behaviour and tech, she covers everything ecommerce and hosts the Power Retail Power Talks Podcast.

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