Pre-Christmas retail trade forecast to hit $58b

The Australian Retailers Association (ARA) and Roy Morgan are predicting this year’s pre-Christmas spending will broadly match last year’s high. It’s also expected to be “significantly above” 2019 pre-pandemic spending.

The ARA-Roy Morgan 2021 pre-Christmas Retail Sales predictions forecast that overall spending will come in at $58.8 billion. This is “virtually unchanged” on last year, but up 11.3% on pre-pandemic conditions.

ARA CEO Paul Zahra says there’s a lot of “Christmas cheer” in these numbers, with the overall trend looking positive.

He says this is “great news for small businesses and discretionary retailers who have suffered through some of the longest lockdowns in the world this year”.

“The Christmas trading period is critical as it’s the time when most discretionary retailers make up to two thirds of their profits for the year,” says Mr Zahra.

“Although the ARA-Roy Morgan data predicts the impact of Covid lockdowns will continue to suppress retail sales, year-end spending in NSW and Victoria will bounce back strongly in December. And those states not impacted by lockdowns will enjoy a more gradual ramp-up in sales growth leading into Christmas. The overall trend is looking positive.”

Roy Morgan CEO Michele Levine says the forecasting reveals a “country on the move”.

“No one believed that spending this coming Christmas could match the highs of last year, but as the population emerges from the most punishing crisis in a hundred years, shoppers are looking to reward themselves and their families,” she says.

“The sales aren’t all going to be in-store, however. The Covid five-year digital acceleration means many more Australians are shopping online, so this Christmas we will see much more of a mix between in-store and online shopping.”

Pre-Christmas sales by state and territory ($million) 2020 (actual) 2021 (forecast) Change
NSW 18,370 18,285 -0.5%
Victoria 15,214 15,418 1.3%
Queensland 12,274 12,091 -1.5%
South Australia 3710 3604 -2.9%
Western Australia 6444 6480 0.6%
Tasmania 1211 1261 4.2%
Northern Territory 582 565 -2.8%
ACT 1116 1128 1.1%
Total 58,921 58,834 -0.1%
Pre-Christmas sales by category ($million) 2020 (actual) 2021 (forecast) Change
Food 23,988 23,915 -0.3%
Household Goods 10,920 10,145 -7.1%
Clothing, Footwear, Accessories 4776 4721 -1.1%
Department Stores 3356 3092 -7.9%
Other Retailing 8741 8945 2.3%
Hospitality 7141 8016 12.3%
Total 58,921 58,834 -0.1%

 

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