‘Unprecedented’ record breaking $74.5 billion festive spend

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By Published On: January 9, 20230 Comments

The ARA reports Australian consumers have revelled in ‘freedom’ spending with a record breaking $74.5 billion pre-Christmas spend.

The Australian Retailers Association (ARA) has partnered with Westpac DataX to reveal exclusive data showing expectation defying numbers. The record breaking near $75 billion spend is up 8.6 percent on 2021.

“This is without a doubt, the biggest festive season spend on record – it is unprecedented,”  ARA CEO Paul Zahra said, noting it is an unparalleled result after several years of disruption.

“It is remarkable that in this period of economic turbulence, traders have well and truly smashed it out of the ball park as consumers revelled in ‘freedom’ spending.

According to Zahra, “an unrivalled $74.5 billion spend leading up to Christmas still didn’t diminish the spending appetite of Aussies leading into the year’s marquee retail savings event.” According to the data produced by the ARA and Westpac, Boxing Day trading also saw unprecedented growth. The $1.23 billion spend for the day was up 15.3 percent from last year. “Boxing Day has once again cemented its status as the Grand Final of Australia’s favourite sport, shopping,” Zahra added.

Jade Clarke, Head of Westpac DataX said spending remained strong despite the rising cost of living. “We are delighted to support the Australian Retailers Association with a timely and deeper view into this critical revenue period for our retailers,” Clarke said. “WestpacDataX has leveraged de-identified card-spend data to provide the ARA and its retailers access to important insights during this key trading time. “The data shows that despite a year of increasing living costs, Australian retail sales have remained strong over the holiday period, improving on last year.”

“There are many elements driving this record spend. Australians are seeing shopping as an experience and a reward after such a challenging period,” said Zahra. While this may be the case it is worth noting that cost of living rises are equally impacting the spend. According to the data from ARA, Australian consumers are also spending big on luxuries, not just essentials. Department stores drove the greatest growth on Boxing Day with $149.4 million in sales (up 23.6 percent on 2021). Cafes, restaurants and takeaway food services were up 22.8 percent and clothing and apparel 19.8 percent. “These fabulous results really tie a bow on an extremely successful year for retail as we head into a period of greater uncertainty in 2023,” concluded Zahra.

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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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