Covid restrictions have been wound back and Australians have one of the highest vaccination rates in the world. Two confidence-boosting stats that will see four million Australians take a well-deserved Easter break, reports Roy Morgan in conjunction with the Australian Retailers Association (ARA).

In good news for retailers, most Aussies will be travelling domestically – 63 per cent within their own state and 34 per cent heading interstate. Only three percent are planning an overseas trip.

The big spenders will be Millennials and Gen Xers aged 35 to 49, who are most likely to travel in a family group. The report predicts the two demographics will spend an average of $2000 during their Easter getaways – a total of $2.6 billion.

Food will be a top priority, of course. NSW will lead the way with an average spend of $104 on popular items such as hot cross buns, Easter eggs and chocolates to reach $500 million. Victorians are on track to earn the second ranking with a spend of $100 to reach $400 million.

“Australians have had their travel restricted at various stages through the pandemic, but with borders opened people will be taking advantage of the upcoming Easter long weekend, getting away and spending $7.1 billion on their trips”, says Paul Zahra, CEO of the ARA.

In a pointer to increased and ongoing recovery, Australian retail turnover increased 1.8 per cent in February, reports the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS), following a 1.6 uptick in January.

The February result saw retail sales hit their second highest level on record after November 2021, said Ben James, Director for Quarterly-Wide Economic Surveys for the ABS.

“Most discretionary spending industries experienced strong rises once again as consumer cautiousness lessened, leading to an increase in mobility and improved business conditions”.

Cafes, restaurants and takeaways enjoyed the largest rise in turnover – 9.7 per cent. Other industries which enjoyed double digit growth included clothing, footwear and personal accessories (+11.2%) and department stores (+11.1%).

Department stores account for the lion’s share of prestige beauty sales in Australia. “It’s encouraging to see department stores starting to see some growth after many months of decline, as well as the continued lift in fashion and hospitality”, noted Zahra.

Beauty falls into the Other Retailing category and the sector posted 14.4 per cent growth in February, by contrast to the same month last year.

All states, with the exception of the Northern Territory, posted retail growth in February – NSW (+8.5%), Victoria (+13.1%), Queensland (+6.5%), South Australia (+7.6%), WA (+10.5%), Tasmania (3.5%) and ACT (+3.2%).

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