According to the Australian Retailers Association (ARA), post-Holiday spending should reach $15.1 billion by mid-January. Russell Zimmerman, the executive director of the ARA, stated that it is “a positive sign for the retail sector, it is also great to see all states and territories predicted to experience positive growth this post-Christmas period.”
Spending on food alone is expected to reach $6.2 billion. The spending is expected to be spread out through the country, opposed to being concentrated in isolated areas. This is very positive for the country since the boost and sales will be broadly felt.
Further break down of the ARA’s prediction includes online sales, which is expected to reach $2.8 billion. Clothing sales are up 3.9% and café sales are up 6.2%. Overall, the increase in sales is reflective of increased confidence in the economy and government. Other signs are increased housing prices throughout many large cities.
Despite the increased spending, consumers in Australia are saving more than they have in recent years. There has been a steady increase in saving for some time, which followed a period of low savings and economic hardship. Additionally, the growth of credit is very slow. These are both indications that consumers are not fully comfortable with the current economic situation.
Financial experts have suggested the increase in saving and the weakness of growth in credit are reflective of the still growing jobless rate. Despite the overall improvements, mining jobs are expected to be lost over the next year, which is expected to bring the unemployment rate up to 6%.
The ARA is encouraging politicians to make legislative changes in monetary policies that will help alleviate the concerns of consumers. However, the central bank is very hesitant to make any such changes. Many view the economy as good but fragile and too many changes can upset the balance that has been created.