Unprecedented growth on Boxing Day as pre-Christmas retail spend hits record $74.5 billion

Australia’s pre-Christmas spending splurge has defied all expectations, reaching a record-breaking $74.5 billion – up 8.6 per cent on last year – according to exclusive data by Australian Retailers Association’s (ARA) partnership with Westpac DataX.

Boxing Day trading also saw unprecedented growth – up 15.3 per cent from last year – to notch a massive $1.23 billion spend for the day.

ARA CEO Paul Zahra says it is an unparalleled result after several years of disruption.

“This is without a doubt, the biggest festive season spend on record – it is unprecedented,” Mr Zahra said.

“It is remarkable that in this period of economic turbulence, traders have well and truly smashed it out of the ball park as consumers reveled in ‘freedom’ spending.

“An unrivalled $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.

“The last three years have been incredibly challenging for everybody – and retail traders were certainly no exception. The resilience and agility of the industry has been remarkable.”

“There are many elements driving this record spend. Australians are seeing shopping as an experience and a reward after such a challenging period.

“We also know that price increases continue to elevate these numbers with many Australians also motivated to get in ahead of price rises and leverage savings during the sales events.”

Shrugging off adversity, department stores drove the greatest growth on Boxing Day – up a whopping 23.6 per cent on last year – to reap $149.4 million in sales. Cafes, restaurants and takeaway food services were up 22.8 per cent and clothing and apparel 19.8 per cent.

“Boxing Day has once again cemented its status as the Grand Final of Australia’s favourite sport, shopping,” Mr Zahra added.

“The success shared by department stores in particular is truly outstanding, defying many predictions by commentators. It’s fantastic to also see the anticipated growth in clothing, footwear and personal accessory sales – another category that has experienced strong headwinds in recent years.

“These fabulous results really tie a bow on an extremely successful year for retail as we head into a period of greater uncertainty in 2023.”

Jade Clarke, Head of Westpac DataX said spending remained strong despite the rising cost of living.

“We are delighted to support the Australian Retailers Association with a timely and deeper view into this critical revenue period for our retailers,” Ms Clarke said.

“Westpac DataX has leveraged de-identified card-spend data to provide the ARA and its retailers access to important insights during this key trading time.

“The data shows that despite a year of increasing living costs, Australian retail sales have remained strong over the holiday period, improving on last year.”

Data by Westpac DataX



Boxing Day -26th Dec 2022

1st Dec 2022 – 26th Dec 2022

1st Nov 2022 – 24th Dec 2022

Category $ % change from 2021 $ % change from 2021 $ % change from 2021
Food retailing







Household goods







Clothing, footwear and personal accessories







Department stores







Cafes, restaurants and takeaway food services







Other retailing
















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