There’s nothing more synonymous with long, hot summer days than ice cream. Whether it’s grabbing a soft serve at the beach, a tub to-go from your local servo or a quirky flavour combo from the latest artisanal “it” spot, Aussies are buying up big when it comes to ice cream.
It may be seasonal, but the $1.1 billion industry is still going strong. It might surprise you to learn that, nationally, we consume more of the frozen sweet treat in the lead-up to Christmas than we do in the new year summer holidays.
Square looked back at 2018 data, analysing thousands of transactions from hundreds of Square sellers across the country, and took a deep dive into our annual consumption habits. Surprisingly, ice cream sales had their biggest spike from October until December, with sales jumping as much as 70 per cent higher in the lead-up to Christmas compared to an average month.
While the January summer holidays still saw strong sales, they dropped off to only 25 per cent above an average monthly spend, with February sales falling completely flat despite (usually) being the hottest month.
While most of us joke that we love ice cream so much we’d eat it for breakfast, the peak sales hours all fell in the p.m. Peak purchasing times landed between 2 and 4 p.m. and 8 and 10 p.m., which made up more than half (62 per cent) of all daily ice cream sold.
What are we paying for a scoop of ice cream?
The data highlighted that consumer demand and price sensitivity varies by state, as seen by consumers in Queensland (QLD) who spend, on average, around $1.50 more for a scoop of ice cream compared to consumers in Western Australia (WA) and Tasmania (TAS).
Flavours of the season
While we hear that the staple fruit flavours (think passionfruit, lemon and mango gelato) are still the most in demand, more exotic fruit combos are also starting to make their way onto ice cream menus across the country, including pandan, yuzu and durian.
Ice cream wasn’t exempt from the “it” cocktail flavour of 2018 — the Aperol craze found its way to our frozen treats as well. Of course, the quirky flavour combinations didn’t escape appearance either, with flowers and spices being the big trends last year — lavender, rose, black sesame and ginger being the most common among them.
Cone or cup?
It seems the days of simply choosing between a cone or cup are behind us, with ice cream entrepreneurs thinking up new, novel (and calorific!) ways of serving up their frozen treats. The allure of Instagrammable ice-cream-filled cronuts, churro boats and indulgent deep-fried variations was too good to ignore for consumers in 2018.
The rise of healthy ice cream options
Not to be left out, health-conscious consumers looking to get frozen summer treats are in luck, with more businesses adding diet-friendly options in 2018. Notably, raw and vegan ice cream (usually made with a fruit base instead of dairy) catering to the lactose averse became an increasingly popular addition.
Of course, the ever-popular superfoods were present on most of our sellers’ menus around the country, with matcha, green tea and ginger flavours being the most common
The power of data
This report was pulled together using Square Dashboard, with data collected and analysed from thousands of sales at hundreds of ice cream sellers across the country on the Square platform. Data insights are extremely valuable to help business owners make smarter, more informed decisions about how to run their business.