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Growth in gambling spend highlights Aussies’ changing habits

Fri, Nov 25, 10:19am by Senior Writer

Growth in spending on gambling is part of an increasing trend by Australians to spend a greater part of their discretionary income on ‘experiences’ over ‘things’.

Research from Roy Morgan focusses around Australian spending habits in the 2015/2016 year, with a growing gap between the amount of money spent of experiences compared to that spent of ‘commodities’.

Expenditure on discretionary commodities such as clothes and shoes, hardware, appliances and furniture, home entertainment products and sporting goods, games and toys, perfume and cosmetics was down two per cent year on year.

But expenditure on experiences has grown 7.8 per cent or around $10 billion, with an extra $32 billion of discretionary income spent on this form

Dining, cafes, movies, entertainment, sporting events, hobbies and fitness contributed $77.1 billion, while entertaining at home accounted for $42.5 billion.

Gambling had its own category and accounted for $16.8 billion of household expenditure, or around 6.94 per cent of the total expenditure across commodities and experiences.

“The fact that Australians are spending more on ‘experiences’ (leisure activities outside the home) and less on ‘things’ (discretionary commodities) is one of the most striking findings of Roy Morgan Research’s latest retail-focused State of the Nation report. It also poses a challenge for retailers selling discretionary commodities,” Michele Levine, CEO, Roy Morgan Research, said.

Levine said Australia’s spending habits were undergoing a massive change.

“As mentioned above, nearly 55% of Australians buy at least one item of clothing in an average four weeks, which equates to an annual spend of $25.1 billion – under a third of what we spend on going out in a year! What’s more, the amount Australians spend on going out has increased by 38% over the last seven years, while our clothing spend has increased by 20%,” she said.

“Of course, this doesn’t mean retail is dead: just that it needs to adapt to this growing desire for experiences and entertainment.”

“Incidentally, the State of the Nation report reveals a year-on-year increase in the number of Aussies visiting bricks-and-mortar stores (an additional 90 million visits to retail outlets in the last financial year), which suggests that many retailers are already working to provide customers with an in-store experience that goes beyond the transactional. Naturally, converting this experience into sales is crucial…”

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