Economy

Fashion, food, gambling and beauty set for spring racing win, but tourism could fall behind

Melinda Oliver /

The fashion, beauty and food industries can look forward to a much-needed consumer spending boost due to the spring racing carnival in Melbourne, IBISWorld research shows.

IBISWorld analysts predict that that positive post-election consumer confidence will see Melbourne Cup Carnival spending increase by 3.5% this year to $455.5 million.

It expects fashion to be the fastest growing expenditure segment, increasing 13.9% on 2012 spending to $53.2 million.

IBISWorld reported that in 2012, the trend by consumers was to reuse race-wear from previous years. This year it expects women to spend more than men, but for men’s expenditure to rise at a faster rate.

The other key industry set to benefit is betting, with punters attending the Melbourne Cup Carnival expected to boost gambling spend by 12.4% to $68.1 million this year. Overall betting on the event is forecast to reach $806 million, an increase of 7.4% on 2012 figures.

Trackside food and beverage spend is predicted to lift by 3.3% to $167.9 million.

Key dates for the Melbourne Cup Carnival are Derby Day on November 2, Melbourne Cup Day on November 5, Oaks Day on November 7 and Stakes Day on November 9. Combined, the event is expected to attract 354,000 visitors, up 0.8% on last year.

Interstate visitors are forecast to make up 18% of visits, and international visitors at 3.5%.

IBISWorld general manager (Australia) Karen Dobie said total expenditure will equate to approximately $1287 for each separate visit to the carnival.

“The warm spring weather, coupled with high consumer confidence, is expected to drive domestic attendance, while the falling Australia dollar is expected to boost international visits,” she said.

However, while IBISWorld forecast that attendance numbers will increase slightly, it predicts that continued flight and accommodation discounts will lead to a drop in tourism expenditure, which is forecast to contract by 2.5%.

Retail Doctor Group business fitness specialist Marguerite Bell said the predicted boost in retail spend on the carnival reflects a positive sentiment, and provides a good platform for consumer behaviour prior to the Christmas season.

However, she thinks an increased spend on carnival fashion of 13.9% up on last year is a high figure, not supported by retail spending trends in general.

For businesses to take advantage of the potential growth, she says they need to act now to be in the game.

“They need to have marketing campaigns, cross-channel marketing and in-store promotions that reflect the racing season,” she says.

“This includes their social media platforms.”

Bell says retailers need to tap into the spring carnival sentiments of socialising, partying, spring, and fashion in order to attract consumers at this time.

“Retailers need to be active, if not they will miss out as this is a short period of time.”

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