Holiday Spending: When Do Australians Get Their Seasonal Shopping Done?

With Christmas Day just seven weeks away, Square is celebrating the upcoming holiday season with a gift to help business owners across the country prepare for this year’s spending rush: spending data!

We crunched the numbers on the millions of sales made by Square businesses across Australia this time last year to determine the most popular trading days, and even the time of day people were spending the most. We also did a deep dive on the industries doing the biggest turnover during the holiday rush.

When do we start spending more?

As expected, in the three months leading up to Christmas we saw turnover for businesses rise significantly, when compared to the average sales of any other month. In 2018, revenue across Square sellers increased:

  • 25% in October;
  • 46% in November; and
  • 48% in December, which saw sales at their peak.

Where are we spending the most?

The industries with the biggest trading spikes in December 2018 were:

  • Retail: which saw a 107% increase in December compared to an average month
  • Leisure & Entertainment: which saw a 95% uplift in sales in December

When does retail hit its peak?


Last year retail businesses experienced much heavier weekend trade increasing through the month of November, culminating with the biggest national retail trading day the first weekend of December, on Saturday 1 December, 2018 – with sales hitting their peak at 12 noon.

While December generally saw much higher trade throughout the month, volume spiked significantly on weekends, particularly on Saturdays. State by state the busiest days also varied, with Queenslanders enjoying their shopping peak a whole month earlier than than Canberrans.