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The winners this festive season

25 November, 2013

It's save or splurge time again and business information analysts at IBISWorld have put together a round-up of the likely winners this silly season.

This year the average Australian will spend $1,215.30 on Christmas – just five dollars more than last year – although they'll be putting more on debit cards than credit cards as the trend towards paying down debt continues.

Despite record low interest rates, consumers are still being price savvy with their spending, said IBISWorld general manager (Australia) Karen Dobie. The total December spend is forecast to reach $28.1 billion, a rise of 2.2 per cent from last year.
The winners

When it comes to growth, online retailing will continue its momentum with an 18 per cent year-on-year increase. However, Dobie said the pace of growth in 2013 will actually be subdued compared with 2012. Overall, we'll spend $1.4 billion online this December. 

Food the largest category

Continuing a longstanding trend, food will be the biggest expenditure item over the festive season as people host dinners and barbecues to celebrate Christmas. December spending on food is tipped to be $10.6 billion, a 3.4 per cent rise from last year. When it comes to chowing down on the big day, IBISWorld expects 2013 will be the first Christmas feast in a couple of years when Australians will be willing to splurge on gourmet treats for lunch or dinner.

"This is the first year in a while that consumer sentiment hasn't been affected by global and political uncertainty, and the post-financial crisis nervousness has dissipated, leaving Australians more confident about their economic future – and more willing to spend up on seafood and premium bubbly," said Dobie.

According to IBISWorld, butchers and smaller fresh food outlets will do well this Christmas, with positive consumer sentiment encouraging people to spend that little bit extra on local, premium produce. However, spending on liquor will grow by just 1.2 per cent to $1.3 billion – a slower rate than in previous years as our overall alcohol consumption decreases.

"Despite this, there are several categories bucking the trend such as craft beers, boutique ciders and premium wines, which are enjoying significant growth as Australians embrace the concept of premiumisation and more people choose to replace quantity with quality when it comes to alcohol consumption", Dobie said.

Those opting to eat out over the Christmas period will be in good company, with restaurant spending anticipated to increase 5.2 per cent to $1.9 billion.

"Because Christmas is a special occasion, consumers are expected to splurge on expensive set menu and degustation lunches and dinners at high-end restaurants that they might not regularly frequent," said Dobie.

Forecast December spending in 2013  



($ billion)

Growth from 2012







Clothing and footwear








Eating out




Toys, games and video games








Online retailing












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