Bumper Christmas on the way

Bumper Christmas on the way

Roy Morgan’s annual Christmas retail sales forecasts conducted in conjunction with the Australian Retailers Association (ARA) indicate Australians will spend nearly $51.5 billion across retail stores during the Christmas trading period from November 9-December 24 (46 days).

Forecast retail spending this Christmas of almost $51.5 billion is an increase of 2.9% from the $50 billion of retail expenditure during the 2017 Christmas trading period.

Growth in retail expenditure is predicted across all six categories measured, with spending on Food expected to grow the fastest by 3.7% from a year ago to nearly $21 billion. Also expected to enjoy strong growth are Hospitality businesses by 3.2% to over $7.3 billion.

Apparel and Household Goods will also record a significant increase in trade, with Roy Morgan and the ARA predicting $4 billion to be spent on Apparel including clothing, footwear & accessories, a 3.1% increase from 2017, while over $8.9 billion is forecast to be spent on Household Goods, a 2% increase from a year ago.

The slowest growing category is predicted to be Department stores for which spending is forecast to increase by 0.3% to $2.943 billion.

Predicted Retail Spending Growth by Category (2017 cf. 2018):

Category 2017 pre-Xmas Actual Results ($mil) Roy Morgan 2018 forecast pre-Xmas sales ($mil) Roy Morgan predicted sales growth
Food 20,163 20,908 3.7%
Household goods 8,757 8,931 2.0%
Hospitality 7,117 7,348 3.2%
Apparel – clothing & footwear etc. 3,906 4,028 3.1%
Department stores 2,935 2,943 0.3%
Other retailing 7,127 7,321 2.7%
National 50,005 51,479 2.9%

Retail sales forecast to grow most strongly in NSW, Victoria, South Australia and Tasmania

Analysis of Roy Morgan’s pre-Christmas retail forecasts by state shows bumper growth is expected in four States led by Victoria up by 5.2% to over $13.5 billion.

Christmas retail spending in Australia’s largest State of New South Wales is expected to increase by 3.1% to over $16.6 billion and increases of over 3% in retail sales are also predicted for South Australia and Tasmania. Tasmania is forecast to record Christmas retail sales of over $1 billion for the first time.

Forecast Christmas retail spending in Queensland is predicted to increase by 1.7% to over $10 billion for the first time while there are also increases predicted for both the ACT and NT.

Predicted retail spending growth by state (2017 cf. 2018):

State or Territory 2017 pre-Xmas Actual Results ($mil) Roy Morgan 2018 forecast pre-Xmas sales ($mil) Roy Morgan predicted sales growth
NSW 16,132 16,629 3.1%
Victoria 12,843 13,512 5.2%
Queensland 9,907 10,071 1.7%
WA 5.395 5,366 -0.5%
SA 3,320 3,422 3.1%
Tasmania 998 1,038 4.0%
ACT 914 940 2.9%
NT 495 501 1.2%
National 50,005 51,479 2.9%


Chief executive officer of Roy Morgan Michele Levine said: “Despite concerns that a softening housing market may adversely impact retail spending in the important Christmas retailing season, the research conducted by Roy Morgan in conjunction with the Australian Retailers Association (ARA) shows that Australians are shrugging off these concerns with retail spending in the Christmas sales period expected to rise by 2.9% in 2018 to nearly $51.5 billion.”

“This is a faster rate of retail spending growth than achieved a year ago in 2017 when spending in the Christmas retail period grew by 2.7% to exceed $50 billion for the first time.

“Strong growth in Christmas retail spending is forecast across the six retail categories headlined by growth of 3.7% in Food retailing to nearly $21 billion, up by 3.2% for Hospitality businesses to over $7.3 billion and by 3.1% to over $4 billion for Apparel including clothing, footwear and personal accessories.

“Forecast Christmas retail spending across Australia’s eight states and territories is led by growth of 5.2% in Victoria to over $13.5 billion and New South Wales by 3.1% to over $16.6 billion. Christmas retail spending in Queensland is forecast to exceed $10 billion for the first time and there is also strong growth forecast in Tasmania and South Australia.

ARA executive director Russell Zimmerman said: “With consumer spending on the rise as noted in September’s retail trade figures, the ARA and Roy Morgan are confident that this year’s Christmas sales will remain strong during the festive season, with a 3.67% total year-on-year growth across the retail sector.

“An estimated $21 billion is expected to be spent on Food this Christmas, which is a 3.7% increase from the previous year and coincides with the consistent figures recorded from this category throughout 2018.

“As the online retail market continues to expand, the ARA is also predicting online gift purchases to increase by 2.7% with Australian shoppers expected to purchase many of their gifts online this year.”

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