A Sunday Not So Far Away

The introduction of Sunday trading in Perth last year was rightly hailed as a momentous change that will transform the retail landscape of Australia’s boom city. But while everyone knows that people will flock to the shops in Perth on Sundays, fewer know who these shoppers will be, what their shopping patterns will look like, how much time they will devote to shopping and how much they will spend.

Segmenting our Consumer Shopping Benchmarks into weekday and Sunday shoppers (depending on the day of interview) provides a consumer sample of 18,200 customers, from which we can analyse differences in shopping behaviour between the two groups.

This is useful for all retailers and landlords, and also provides a guide to what Perth operators can expect in terms of customer profiles and shopping patterns on the new day of trading.

While we might think of Sunday shopping as a leisurely activity, the data shows that Sunday shoppers are still fairly focused in their outlook. This can be explained by Sunday shoppers’ income and employment profiles. Where only 28% of those interviewed during the week were in full-time employment, this jumped to 55% on Sunday. As a result there is a large variation in average household income between weekday ($69,600) and Sunday shoppers ($82,700).

Sunday shoppers, then, are relatively time-poor, with many having been working all week. While some are looking to relax and browse, most will arrive with a fairly good idea of what they are looking for. This is part of a general post-GFC trend towards goal-oriented shopping, but it is interesting that we don’t see more relaxed shopping on the weekend, which we like to think of as leisure time.

Sunday shoppers stay on average only fractionally longer, are more likely to drive to maximise their time, and aren’t willing to travel much further to the shops than their weekday counterparts. Reflecting their higher household incomes however, they do spend more, averaging $80 per visit compared with $64 for weekday shoppers.

While shoppers spend more on everything on Sunday, the biggest contributor is the main food shop: 17% of Sunday shopping trips in shopping centres are built around the main weekly food shop, with 51% of spend overall going on food, groceries and liquor.

The challenge is to make the weekend shopping centre environment more adhesive – to encourage people to stick to their shopping trips for longer. Improving the shopping experience will of course help here, but part of the response may evolve with the increasing importance centres are placing on community. Spending time in-centre on weekends might require higher-order motivations than personal purchase satisfaction (although this can never be underestimated).

Positioning centres as part of the surrounding community allows consumers to feel good about being a part of that centre – and therefore inside it for longer. It’s marketing gold, can be leveraged to centre wide campaigns, and enables the centre to contribute to social capacity building. Win, win and win.