Extended lockdowns in major states coupled with domestic and international travel restrictions have boosted consumer savings over the past six months.

Australians are predicted to spend $58 million in the run-up to Christmas and pent-up demand won’t end there, says the Australian Retailers Association (ARA) in conjunction with Roy Morgan Research.

Armed with gift cards and hunting for bargains with their accumulated cash, the ARA predicts that Aussies are poised to fork out a record $21 billion in-store and online over the post-Christmas period from Boxing Day to mid-January.

An increase of 2.1 per cent over the same period in 2020 and  12.6 per cent up on  pre-pandemic 2019 levels.

The core categories for growth are expected to be household goods (+19.1%), other retailing, including beauty (+18%), clothing, footwear and accessories (+16.5%), food (+9.6%), department stores (+9.1%) and hospitality (+7.6%).

Paul Zahra, CEO of the ARA, says the strong momentum in the leadup to Christmas has leveraged the continued retail therapy spree. “We’re continuing to see a lot of pent-up demand for shopping after the Delta lockdowns. We’ve experienced a record-breaking Black Friday with sales exceeding expectations, and that’s provided businesses with strong momentum for this crucial trading period.”

NSW will lead the pack in the post-Christmas blowout with a spend of $6.45 billion, followed by Victoria ($5.601 billion), Queensland ($4.22 billion), WA ($2.378 billion), SA ($1.361 billion, Tasmania ($462 million, the ACT ($404 million) and the NT ($207 million).

Michele Levine, CEO of Roy Morgan, confirms that post-Christmas retail sales are expected to hit record highs as consumers enjoy the benefits of high vaccination rates.

“Australians have saved up many dollars over the past two years that they’ve been prevented from spending due to lockdowns, border closures and other restrictions on travel. The loosened restrictions around the country provide an opportunity for retailers looking to maximise their revenues and tap into what is forecast to be a record summer retailing period”, she noted.

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