South Australians have voted with their feet in favour of Boxing Day trade in the ’burbs, with figures showing retail sales across suburban Adelaide almost trebling (an increase of 192%) those of the public holiday last year.
The figures – contained in an Advanced Analytics report commissioned by the Government of Commonwealth Bank transactions over the Christmas holiday period – also reveal an increase in both the number of customers and transactions across suburban retailers on Boxing Day 2018.
This report actually analysed details of more than 230,000 Boxing Day transactions over 2017 and 2018.
It found there was also significant growth in retail spending by interstate visitors, while international visitors’ spending almost doubled in the suburbs on Boxing Day.
The analysis also shows that the CBD experienced an increase in customers (up 2.2%) and transactions (up 4.5%), but a small decline in the value of expenditure (down 4.8%) which was consistent with interstate experience of small declines in retail spending in CBD areas of Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane.
However, the analysis concludes that the dollar value increase in suburban retail sales was 42 times greater than the small fall experienced in the CBD.
Treasurer Rob Lucas welcomed the results as “a ringing endorsement of the Government’s push for greater shop trading hours reform”.
“These figures also ‘blow out of the water’ the claims by Mr Malinauskas and his union boss mates in the shoppies’ union that this reform would not increase total shopping or spending on Boxing Day,” said Mr Lucas.
“We always said the proof of the pudding would be in the eating and this is clear evidence that South Australians have an enormous appetite for change.”
More than 130,000 people flocked to suburban retailers across Adelaide, in addition to the CBD, following a special Ministerial exemption granted under the Shop Trading Hours Act 1977 – allowing suburban Boxing Day trade for the first time in SA.
Among the report’s key findings:
- In the suburbs, retail spending was up 209% for metropolitan Adelaide residents, 95% up for interstate residents and 182% for people who live in regional SA;
- Suburban retailers experienced significant increases in customers on Boxing Day 2018 compared with the previous year (up 129%);
- There was significant growth in retail spending by interstate and overseas visitors – in the suburbs (almost double on both counts);
Mr Lucas said the report also analysed retail data in the CBD and suburbs across November and December for both 2017 and 2018 – including more than 22 million card transactions, worth more than $846 million.
The data shows that, for the two-month period, retail trade was up across all metrics – customers, transactions and total retail spend – last year.
“This result puts paid to the claims made by Mr Malinauskas and the Labor Party that allowing Boxing Day trade in the suburbs would simply come at the expense of spending on other days. This data shows, in fact, the opposite was true.
“South Australians are crying out for greater freedom of choice in shopping hours and, as the reformist Marshall Government has said all along, if traders want to open, consumers want to shop and employees are willing and able to work – why should our silly, archaic laws stop them?”