Sports events grand slams for spending
Sporting events can help give the retail sector a lift, especially at a grand slam event like the Australian Open, according to Mastercard’s market insights based on customer transaction data.
Apart from the obvious boost to tourism, big events like the Australian Open also benefit local businesses and the economy as a whole, said Sarah Quinlan, senior vicepresident for market insights.
The two-week event that concluded a fortnight ago kept the entire economy vibrant prior to and after the event, as people from around the world travelled to Melbourne.
“People’s spending patterns were significantly different during the event than at other times of the year,” she said.
The spending data shows real consumer behaviour, indicating changes during big events, said Ms Quinlan.
The retail sector and local economy in Melbourne enjoyed a 3.6% surge in overall domestic spending during the event compared with the previous two weeks.
Spending in particular was up 28% at bars, 21% at restaurants and 9% at hotels.
High-end retailers also got a boost from interstate-visitors, with watch and jewellery store spending doubling during the tournament.
She said curating a memorable experience is the key to increasing customer spending during big sporting events.
When people are travelling they are spending more. If you can make the experience “priceless” for them, transactions will follow, said Ms Quinlan.
“The more you can curate memorable experiences that people enjoy, the more people are willing to spend,” she said.
Ms Quinlan also said there had been a shift away from luxury spending, a trend which began during the economic downturn 10 years ago.
“People are actually spending less on luxury goods, but are more willing to spend on memorable experiences,” she said.
“Travel and memorable experiences are the new luxuries people desire.”
Ms Quinlan said 2017 was another record-setting year for the Australian Open, with over 728,000 visitors. Of the total, interstate Australian visitors accounted for 26%.
Internationally, New Zealand was the most common origin country for international visitors, with the UK and the US second and third, respectively.
Tourists from New Zealand and the UK were the biggest spenders during the period.