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‘Pent-up demand’: Insane figure Aussies will spend on post-Christmas sales

Aussie shoppers keen for a bargain spent an all-time record amount across the four days from Black Friday to Cyber Monday, and now estimates are for an even more colossal frenzy during post-Christmas sales.

Recent National Australia Bank analysis of transactions concluded Australians spent more than $8bn on the increasingly popular November sales events, unleashing savings accumulated during months of lockdowns in many cases.

But there’s still pent-up demand to splash cash, with the Australian Retailers Association tipping a bumper trading period after Christmas.

ARA commissioned Roy Morgan to crunch the numbers and landed on a record $21bn expected to be spent in stores and online across the nation from Boxing Day through to mid-January.

That would be an increase of 2.1 per cent on the previous year and up 12.6 per cent on pre-pandemic levels in 2019.

They predict Australians will enjoy their freedoms over the festive period, spending $2.9bn on hospitality, up 10.7 per cent on the previous year when the Covid threat was more severe and vaccines were yet to be rolled out – the strongest growth of any category.

They’ll do it in style, ARA and Roy Morgan expect, with spending on clothing, footwear and accessories up almost 7 per cent.

Camera IconDepartment stores are expected to enjoy a 2.7 per cent bigger spend than last year. NCA NewsWire/Luis Enrique Ascui Credit: News Corp Australia

ARA chief executive Paul Zahra said retailers were already feeling strong momentum in the lead-up to Christmas.

“It’s great to see people out and about in great numbers enjoying some retail therapy after another year disrupted by Covid,” Mr Zahra said.

“We’re continuing to see a lot of pent-up demand for shopping after the Delta lockdowns.

“With the states and territories staying committed to their reopening plans, we can look forward to a bumper trading period.

“However, challenges remain with staff shortages and ongoing supply chain issues, which may have an impact on the ability of retailers to expedite their financial recovery.”

Camera IconPost-Christmas sales in NSW are expected to be up 0.4 per cent on last year. NCA NewsWire/Adam Yip Credit: News Corp Australia

Mr Zahra said all retail categories had recorded an increase in spending on last year, apart from food, which was down slightly and not surprising given more people would be out socialising this year.

Roy Morgan chief executive Michele Levine praised Australians for high vaccination rates.

“While there still exists some uncertainty about travel conditions over the next few months, the loosened restrictions around the country do provide an opportunity for retailers looking to maximise their revenues and tap into what is forecast to be a record summer retailing period,” Ms Levine said.

Interestingly, ARA and Roy Morgan expect Tasmania will have an even better sales surge than lockdown-ravaged Victoria, up 8.6 per cent compared with 6.6 per cent.

Retail Reopening Preparations
Camera IconAmerican Express is urging shoppers to think of the hard-hit small business sector this Christmas. NCA NewsWire/Daniel Pockett Credit: News Corp Australia

Meanwhile, American Express’ latest Shop Small campaign urges shoppers to do their Christmas shopping with small businesses this year to help accelerate their recovery.

The credit card company estimates that if every Aussie bought a $100 gift at a small business, it would deliver an additional $2bn boost to the hard-hit sector.

American Express research suggests this festive trading period will be critical for small business operators – make-or-break for 30 per cent – while another 38 per cent say weak sales will force their hand at having to make major changes to their business.

Camera IconRoy Morgan chief executive Michele Levine praised Australians for high vaccination rates. NCA NewsWire/Ian Currie Credit: News Corp Australia

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