Jingle Bells are ringing and carolers singing, it must be Christmas shopping time. Australian retail industry experts have weighed in and outlined their spending predictions for the 2015 pre-Christmas period, but what does that mean in real terms for the average household spend in your state or territory?

The Australian Retailers Association (ARA) and Roy Morgan Research report that Australian’s will spend a whopping $46.7 billion in total from mid-November through to the 24th of December, exceeding last year’s actual spend of $45.2 billion. You may think this means you’ll be putting more money towards Christmas gifts, food, travel and entertaining – well, not necessarily.

To find out how this may impact you, we compare the actual spend of the pre-Christmas period from 2014 with the 2015 forecast for each state and territory, taking into account external influencers such as the increasing population and growing number of households in the last 12 months as predicted by the ABS. In short, discover whether the predictions say you’ll be spending more or less this Christmas.

New South Wales

With the largest number of households out of all states and territories, it comes as no surprise that New South Wales experienced the highest spend in 2014, exceeding $14.3 billion dollars in the lead up to Christmas. This equated to an average spend per household of $5,116.76, which includes all Christmas related spending for the period (from November 15 – December 24).

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This year it’s predicted that NSW residents will be splashing out a total of $14.8 billion. For the average household this will result in a total spend from November 15 until December 24 of $5,206.10, an extra $89.34 spent in 2015.

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Victoria, along with the Northern Territory, is anticipated to experience the largest increase in spending this festive season. Victorian spending in 2014 was a little over $11.1 billion, and this year it is expected to grow to over $11.6 billion.

Victorian pockets will feel the pre-Christmas pinch well above that of other states, roughly $128.82 per household. Average spending from mid-November until Christmas Eve last year sat at $5,025.55, however this year it may grow to as much as $5,154.37 – that’s an extra $128.82.

South Australia

South Australia will likely witness incremental growth in 2015, with total spending for the state due to grow from $2.9 billion to $3 billion.

For the average household this means an additional spend of $64.53 this calendar year on Christmas preparations, creeping up to a total of $4,363.27.

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Queenslanders are expected to spend $9.5 billion dollars on festive preparations this year, which equates to $5,228.14 per household. This is an extension on 2014, where the average household forked out $5,128.87, or $9.2 billion total.

With these figures in mind, those residing in the sunshine state may spend an extra $99.27 between mid-November and Christmas day on gifts, food and drink, plus all those extra trimmings and finishing touches to make your Christmas celebrations memorable.

Related: Is Australia the most expensive place for grocery shopping?


$882 million last year, $907 million the next, that’s what the experts are hoping to see in the southernmost state this year.

Tasmanians will on average spend $4,246.95, $78.77 more than last year, which sat at around $4,168.18 total – the lowest amount of all Australian states and territories.

Australian Capital Territory

Falling just short of Tasmania, the ACT spent $815 million last year; however this number is set to jump to $824 million in the defined period.

Keeping the change in household numbers in mind over the last 12 months, plus this estimated growth in spending, ACT locals on average will save money this year, with the average spend of $5,486.88 in 2014 due to drop to $5,426.62. That’s a saving of $60.26 in 2015.

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Western Australia

Surprisingly WA locals may spend less than last year, despite an increase in spending from $5.2 in 2014 to $5.3 billion dollars in 2015.

When taking into account the forecasted increase in households, on average Western Australian residents will spend $32.10 less, with the average total dropping from $5,417.00 to $5,384.90.

Northern Territory

Living up in the Northern Territory? You may be spending $94.80 less in 2015 if the growth in population and pre-Christmas figures for this year is anything to go by. In 2014 the actual spend for the Northern Territory was $489 million. This year it is due to creep up to $493 million.

With more households and a growing population, residents are expected to reduce the average household spend from $6,472.79 to $6,377.99.

Saving those last few pennies

Despite Christmas only being a matter of weeks away, it isn’t too late to save a few extra dollars to put towards last minute Christmas purchases. According to this article from retail.org.au, food is the category of highest expenditure over the Christmas period at $18.6 billion in 2014. This is perhaps unsurprising, as their figures account for all food spending in the 6 week festive lead up, rather than just Christmas day. Other categories include:

  • Household goods: $7.9 billion
  • Apparel: $3.4 billion
  • Department store: $2.9 billion
  • Other: $6.1 billion
  • Hospitality: $6.3 billion

If you’re looking to make significant savings, hospitality expenditure is perhaps one area that could be looked at. Some other easy ways to make a difference in a short space of time can be as simple as bringing your lunch to work instead of purchasing it out, cutting out a few additional treats (because let’s face it, there’ll be plenty going around at all the festive happenings in the coming weeks), riding to work or ditching your morning coffee. Over the course of a few weeks, these daily costs can add up rapidly, so by cutting back for a short space of time you’ll save that extra money with relative ease.

There are a number of factors that may contribute to an increased national Christmas spend, from inflation to population growth and beyond. One thing’s for sure though, an increase in consumer confidence will result in a very merry Christmas for shoppers and retailers alike.

Author comparethemarket.com.au

Launched in September of 2012, Comparethemarket.com.au – operated by Compare the Market Pty Ltd (CTM) – has teamed up with a range of Australia’s insurance providers so you can compare some of the latest deals, in one place, side-by-side. The team behind comparethemarket.com.au have experience in insurance, comparison, customer service and digital. If this was a stuffy corporate monologue, we’d tell you that we’re a bunch of subject matter experts specialising in User Experience, Customer Insights & Online Strategies. But to be honest, it’s just as accurate (and a whole lot easier) to say that we’re a bunch of people who want to make your experience with online comparison better. We pride ourselves on the fact that we’re forward-thinking, that we share an entrepreneurial spirit, and the fact that we like to have a bit of a laugh too. We’re all a bit too addicted to chocolate, but no one’s perfect, really.

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