Health and home improvement sectors set for 2012 surge: Report

Gyms and hardware retailers are among the businesses tipped to cash in on consumers’ good intentions in 2012, according to IBISWorld, with a big focus on health and home improvement.


According to IBISWorld general manager Karen Dobie, Australians are a “predictable bunch” when it comes to New Year resolutions, which is good news for certain sectors.


Our desire to lose weight and get fit is stronger than ever, with IBISWorld revealing Australia’s weight loss industry is forecast to grow by 2.3% to $792 million in 2012.


“Late January and February is the busiest time of the year for gyms, fitness centres and personal trainers, as tens of thousands of Aussies commit to building a fitter, faster, stronger and trimmer self,” Dobie says.


According to IBISWorld, the fitness industry is expected to grow by 2.7% to reach $2.9 billion in 2012.


“Activities outside of traditional gyms, such as boot camps, yoga, Pilates and martial arts classes, will continue to gain popularity, with Australians expected to spend about $190 million on these activities alone,” Dobie says.


In our quest to live a healthier lifestyle, the health food sector will also enjoy stronger sales in 2012, with revenue for organic farming tipped to increase by 10.8% to reach $541 million.


“Sales growth of organic produce has been strong for Coles and Woolworths, which are both offering an increasing range of organic produce,” Dobie says.


According to IBISWorld, one of the most common goals among Australians in 2011 was to increase savings and cut back debt, and 2012 is expected to be no different.


IBISWorld is forecasting the savings ratio will average about 11% of personal income over the coming year. While this is bad news for retailers, financial planners are expected to benefit.


Meanwhile, almost two million Australians plan to enrol in a course in 2012, with those aged 25-64 accounting for more than half of the total enrolment numbers.


“More and more Australian adults are heading back to school for work, leisure or personal interest,” Dobie says.


“[In 2012], $6.4 billion is expected to be spent on learning languages, business coaching, professional development, attending theological classes and even learning how to drive.”


While self-improvement dominates consumers’ intentions for 2012, home improvement is also on the agenda, with a focus on reinvesting and self-renovating amidst a flat property market.


Australians are expected to spend $1 billion on DIY projects in January alone.


“Traditionally, December and January are the busiest months of the year for hardware stores and nurseries,” Dobie says.


However, not all industries will benefit from consumers’ good intentions in 2012. Many Australians plan to cut back on alcohol, making it harder for liquor and hospitality businesses.


Also, a desire to see the world – while taking advantage of the strong Australian dollar – will see more than 500,000 Australians travel overseas every month, namely to Asia and America.


While this is good news for international airline operators, it is bad news for Australian tourism operators, with revenue from Australian holidaymakers tipped to grow by just 0.4% in 2012.


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