Retail sales in December surged by more than 8 percent last month, making December one of the festive season spends on record.
Figures released by the Australian Retailers Association (ARA), in partnership with Westpac DataX, show Australians spent AUD 74.5 billion in December, representing an 8.6 percent uptick versus 2021.
The rise in retail spending is also higher than the most recent annual inflation rates reported by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS), which stood at 6.9 percent in October and 7.3 percent in September.
Up close, Boxing Day sales jumped 15.3 percent – more than double the inflation rate – to reach AUD 1.23 million.
Department-store sales hit AUD 149 million up by 23.6 percent and the restaurants, cafes and takeaway food sector accounted for AUD 124 million, up by 22.8 percent year-on-year.
Spending on household goods accounted for the highest share on Boxing Day, reaching AUD 314.76 million, up by 14.3 percent, followed by food and grocery retailing, up by a more modest 7.6 percent to AUD 264.52 million.
Spending on apparel and accessories surged 19.8 percent to AUD 217.59 million.
ARA CEO Paul Zahra described the retail sales surge as “unprecedented” after several years of disruption.
“This is without a doubt, the biggest festive season spend on record – it is unprecedented,” Zahra said.
“It is remarkable that in this period of economic turbulence, traders have well and truly smashed it out of the ballpark as consumers revelled in ‘freedom’ spending. An unrivalled AUD 74.5 billion spend leading up to Christmas still didn’t diminish the spending appetite of Aussies leading into the year’s marquee retail savings event.”
In terms of moving into the new year, the ARA and Roy Morgan are projecting a 7.9 percent increase through to 15 January, although for non-food items the rate is higher at 11.1 percent.