Spending falls in December, but drives $60bn holiday result

After a massive shopping spree in November, Australians reeled spending back 4.2 per cent in December to $30.3 billion according to the preliminary stats from the Australian Bureau of Statistics.

The total figure, however, was 9.4 per cent above the same month during 2019, when Aussies spent $27 billion – well below what the market had expected – signaling the holiday season in 2020 was, overall, better for retail than 2019, when the country was suffering the worst bushfire season in years.

And while the month saw a decline compared to November, combined the two months show a holiday period which may have brought in over $60 billion – well above the $52.4 billion the NRA anticipated.

In December, decreases in spending were seen across five of the six retail industries recorded by the ABS, led by a 9 per cent fall in household goods retailing.

Food retailing, department stores, other retailing and clothing all saw sales fall on November, and the only sector to report an increase was cafes, restaurants and takeaway food.

Victoria led the decline, with sales falling 7 per cent after a massive 22 per cent jump in November, while spending in New South Wales, likely impacted by the resurgence of the Covid-19 virus in Sydney near the end of the month, fell 5 per cent.

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