Splurging is back in style this Spring Carnival

30 October, 2012

Following restrained expenditure in 2011, business information analysts at IBISWorld anticipate this year's Melbourne Cup Carnival will see a return to more flippant spending – forecasting an overall increase of 4.1 per cent on 2011 to reach $438.3 million.

Free flowing food and beverages

While overall attendance at the track is expected to be down, IBISWorld anticipates the increase in corporate attendance, coupled with the popularity of Melbourne Cup events around the country will lead to a 6.9 per cent increase in food and beverage spending to reach $162.5 million.

And it appears this upward trend will provide a significant boost to the local hospitality industry, most notably in the food and beverage sectors.

"On November 6th, private and corporate functions will take place all over Australia in anticipation of the 'race that stops the nation'. Workplaces, bars, clubs, restaurants and private homes are all expected to throw caution to the wind this year as Aussies opt for a smorgasbord of food and beverages to celebrate," Dobie said.

Commenting on the upward trend in spending, IBISWorld general manager (Australia), Karen Dobie, highlighted the continued push from the betting sector encouraging greater gambling expenditure, as well as a strong rise in corporate spending fuelled by new sponsors, as key revenue growth factors.

"We have seen a slew of new sponsors enter the fray this year, with the Victoria Racing Club announcing 19 new corporate private marquee clients including Melbourne's Crown Casino," Dobie said.

"According to the VRC, the surge in corporate spending is expected to see spring carnival revenue rise 20 per cent above the levels recorded prior to the global financial crisis."

Melbourne Cup Carnival

Melbourne Cup Carnival spending


($ millions)


($ millions)


( per cent)









Fashion and beauty




Food and beverages








Travelling trackside

While corporate sponsorship for this year's Melbourne Cup Carnival is on the up, IBISWorld expects tourism to grow by just 2.4 per cent this year, with the boost in corporate attendance and travel expected to be partially offset by an anticipated decrease in general admission attendance.

"Attendance to the Melbourne Cup has been declining over the past few years, which has somewhat subdued the increase in tourism spending. However, interstate and international visitor numbers are expected to remain strong for this year's Melbourne Cup Carnival," Dobie said.

According to Racing Victoria, in 2011 the Melbourne Cup Carnival attracted more than 125,000 international and interstate visitors, along with 240,000 Victorians, and was estimated to have generated over $360 million for the state.     

A flutter on the fillies

"IBISWorld anticipates betting expenditure to increase 7.5 per cent this year to reach $60.6 million as more punters take their chances, whether on the nose, a trifecta, a quinella, an exacta, a quadrella or a raft of other wager options," Dobie said.

And while Dobie said the majority of bets are expected to be placed at the TAB, IBISWorld expects online and mobile betting will continue to rise, as more Australians take advantage of smartphone betting apps.

Frocks and fascinators

In 2012, IBISWorld expects spending on fashion and beauty to increase just 1.5 per cent to $46.7 million as Aussies opt to accessorise something already in the wardrobe or capitalise on in-store and online sales, while the trend towards do-it-yourself styling will lead to flat beauty spending.

"Spending is expected to focus on feature items and accessories. For the ladies, this may include a new hat or fascinator, shoes, handbag or jewellery. For the men, it may be a new tie or cuff links," said Dobie.


Source: IBISWorld