Australians spent $8.1 billion over Easter week as inflation drives spending growth

Australians spent $8.1 billion over the week of Easter (April 2 – April 8) – up a modest 4.5 per cent on last year amid a softening of discretionary spending and high inflation, according to new Westpac DataX research in conjunction with the Australian Retailers Association (ARA).

Food retailing was the major driver of Easter 2023’s sales growth, contributing a significant $3.6 billion – up 8.6 per cent from Easter in 2022.

Department stores also showed solid growth, up 7.4 per cent this Easter compared to Easter 2022.

Cafes, restaurants, and takeaway (up 4.6 per cent), other retailing (up 3.9 per cent) and clothes, footwear and personal accessories (up 2.8 per cent) saw minor growth, below inflation. Spending on household goods decreased 2.5 per cent compared to Easter 2022.

“An Easter spend of $8.1 billion across the country is a positive result amid rising interest rates and cost-of-living pinch being felt by Aussies,” ARA CEO Paul Zahra said.

“While we’re still seeing strong spending growth in food, this category is trending positively in part due to inflationary price increases.

“It’s evident that we’re in a discretionary spending slowdown, with homewares and household goods in decline. Shoppers are increasingly conscious of spending less, and shopping strategically to find the best deal and save.”

Head of Westpac DataX Jade Clarke said many Australians are under cost-of-living constraints. “Westpac DataX’s post-Easter analysis shows Australians felt cost-of-living pressures this year, with retail spending up just 4.5 per cent on last year – less than inflation. We saw smaller annual growth compared to the corresponding Easter period last year across the board, other than in Food Retailing (grocery) which was up 8.6 per cent, partly due to inflation,” she said.

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