Almost $18 billion — that is how much Australian shoppers are likely to spend on post-Christmas sales over the next three weeks.
If the Australian Retailers Association (ARA) forecast is correct, it would be almost a 3 per cent increase over last year’s post-Christmas sales figures (online and in-store).
But the ARA lamented that the sales forecast might have been higher if household incomes were not already under pressure from higher power prices.
“One of the biggest things that’s on people’s minds is the cost of energy, and that will obviously stop people from spending the money,” the ARA’s executive director Russell Zimmerman told the ABC.
“If you spoke to retailers today, they would have been hoping to see these sales of around 4 to 4.5 per cent, now obviously we’re not going to.”
Back in July, Energy Australia hiked electricity prices by about 20 per cent, resulting in residential power bills that were up to $600 a year more expensive.
NSW sales to get biggest boost
Last year, Australians spent $17.4 billion during the post-Christmas sale period (December 26 to January 15).
The biggest boost to that figure this year should come from NSW and Victoria, with the ARA predicting those markets to grow by 4.2 and 3.3 per cent respectively.
After the two largest states, the ARA expects Tasmania (+2.91pc) and South Australia (+2.86pc) to experience the next largest consumer spending uplifts.
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NSW sales, in particular, are expected to surge by the most due to recent changes to Boxing Day trading laws.
“With the NSW government finally legislating Boxing Day trade across all parts of NSW this year, the ARA expect NSW retailers to see the biggest Boxing Day sales across the nation,” Mr Zimmerman said.
Thousands of retailers across NSW, in previous years, were required to close on Boxing Day, while only those in Sydney’s CBD were allowed to open.
In September, the NSW Government passed legislation which allows shops in suburban and regional areas to trade on the December 26 public holiday if they choose to.
This is, however, already the norm in Victoria, Tasmania, south-east Queensland, the ACT and Northern Territory.
However, with more shopping options available, that potentially creates a higher risk for consumers to get carried away with their spending.
“Just be wise about how you spend your money,” Mr Zimmerman said.
“You don’t want to see people going out to seek social security support later on when they find they cannot afford to pay their bills.”