Pre-Christmas retail trade for 2021 set to remain stable year-over-year at $ 58 billion

Australia’s largest retail organization, the Australian Retailers Association (ARA), and its strategic partner Roy Morgan predict this year’s pre-Christmas spending will broadly match last year’s peak and be significantly higher than pre-2019 pandemic spending.

ARA-Roy Morgan 2021 pre-Christmas retail sales forecast projects aggregate spending to reach $ 58.8 billion, virtually unchanged from last year, but up 11.3% from conditions pre-pandemic.

Michele Levine, CEO of Roy Morgan, says this is good news for Australia: “Our sales forecast shows a country on the move; a consumer economy showing all the signs of pent-up demand.

“No one believed that spending this next Christmas could reach the heights of last year, but as people come out of the most punitive crisis in a hundred years, shoppers seek to reward themselves and their families.

“However, not all sales will be in-store. COVID’s 5-year digital acceleration means many more Australians are shopping online, so this Christmas we will see a lot more of a mix between in-store and online shopping, ”Ms. Levine said.

“There is a lot of Christmas cheer in these numbers, with the overall trend looking positive, and that’s great news for small businesses and discretionary retailers who have suffered some of the longest lockdowns in the world this year. The Christmas shopping season is critical as this is the time when most discretionary retailers are making up to two-thirds of their profits for the year, ”said ARA CEO Paul Zahra.

“Although ARA-Roy Morgan data predicts that the impact of Covid lockdowns will continue to suppress retail sales, year-end spending in NSW and Victoria will rebound strongly in December. And states unaffected by the lockdowns will benefit from a more gradual acceleration in sales growth until Christmas. The general trend seems positive.

ARA-Roy Morgan 2021 Pre-Christmas Retail Sales (by State and Territory)

Domestic retail before Christmas 2021 is expected to be in line with 2020, with growth in Victoria, Tasmania and ACT; Widely flat NSW and WA; and some contraction in Queensland, SA and NT following strong sales before Christmas in 2020.

Pre-Christmas Sales by State and Territory ($ millions)

2020 (real)

2021 (forecast)


New South Wales

18 370

18 285










South australia




Western Australia








North territory




Australian Capital Territory





58 921

58 834


ARA-Roy Morgan 2021 Pre-Christmas Retail Sales (by Category)

By category, the expected year-over-year change is more uneven than the breakdown by state, with double-digit growth forecast for hospitality offsetting declines in housewares and department stores.

Pre-Christmas Sales by Category ($ millions)

2020 (real)

2021 (forecast)



23 988

23 915


Household items

10 920



Clothing, shoes, accessories

4 776

4 721


Department stores

3 356

3 092


Other retail


8 945







58 921

58 834


Roy Morgan’s data also puts (for the first time) the impact of the most recent lockdowns on retail at $ 131 million per day across the economy.

“Not surprisingly, these impacts were felt most severely in New South Wales and Victoria, at $ 40.4 million and $ 55.2 million per day respectively. And it’s also not surprising that the worst affected categories are hospitality and apparel, footwear and accessories, at $ 71.7 million and $ 55.7 million per day respectively, ”said Mr. Zahra.

“These impacts will continue to weigh on annual retail growth and will be compounded by cuts in government stimulus payments and the end of ‘mortgage holidays’ for tens of thousands of Australians in the coming months. We must also remember that the sector recorded very high numbers following an exceptional Christmas last year.

“Overall, however, the outlook is positive heading into Christmas and there is cause for celebration in the outlook for this year.

“With high online sales, reduced purchase demand, global supply chain disruptions and local delivery issues, the key message to consumers this Christmas is the season to shop early,” M concluded. Zahra.

About Roy Morgan

Roy Morgan is Australia’s largest independent research firm, with offices in every state, as well as in the US and UK. A full-service research organization, Roy Morgan has over 75 years of experience collecting objective and independent consumer information.

About the Australian Retailers Association

The Australian Retailers Association (ARA) is Australia’s oldest, largest and most diverse retail organization, representing a $ 360 billion industry employing 1.3 million Australians . As Australia’s premier retail representative group, the ARA informs, advocates, educates, protects and unifies approximately 7,500 independent, national and international retail members with over 100,000 storefronts from retail. To learn more about ARA’s exclusive benefits and more, visit

Media inquiries:
Dominique cuschieri
0418 224 072
[email protected]


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