Aussies defy Christmas spending expectations
Pre-Christmas sales reached record heights in 2022, with consumers spending $74.5 billion, up 8.6 per cent on last year, research by the Australian Retailers Association (ARA) and Westpac DataX shows.
Additionally, Boxing Day trading was up a massive 15.3 per cent on last year, notching a $1.23 billion spend for the day, which according to ARA CEO, Paul Zahra, is an unparalleled result after several years of disruption.
“This is without a doubt the biggest festive season spend on record―it is unprecedented,” he says.
“It is remarkable that in this period of economic turbulence, traders have well and truly smashed it out of the ballpark as consumers reveled in ‘freedom’ spending.”
Department stores recorded the largest growth on Boxing Day, up a whopping 23.6 per cent on last year to reap $149.4 million in sales. Cafes, restaurants and takeaway food services were up 22.8 per cent and clothing and apparel 19.8 per cent.
“The success shared by department stores in particular is truly outstanding, defying many predictions by commentators. It’s fantastic to also see the anticipated growth in clothing, footwear and personal accessory sales―another category that has experienced strong headwinds in recent years.
“The last three years have been incredibly challenging for everybody and retail traders were certainly no exception. The resilience and agility of the industry has been remarkable. There are many elements driving this record spend. Australians are seeing shopping as an experience and a reward after such a challenging period.”
Jade Clarke, head of Westpac DataX, confirms that spending remained strong despite the rising cost of living.
“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,” he says.