Summer in Boomtown – why marketers can’t ignore the huge holiday audience in regional Australia

Brian Gallagher, Chief Sales Officer, Southern Cross Austereo
By Brian Gallagher, Chief Sales Officer, Southern Cross Austereo | 26 November 2019
Brian Gallagher

As temperatures begin to rise and summer is in the air, there is really only one thing on the minds of most Australians – and that’s summer holidays. But what do summer holidays, purchasing behavior and media consumption look like in regional Australia?

The common myth is that our 8.8 million regional Australians don’t spend like their metro counterparts, nor do they travel as much. They also don’t seem to consume any media. Well, let’s just bust those myths right here and now.

It’s pertinent to note that many regional areas swell with metro holidaymakers during summer – in fact 55%* will be heading to regional areas. This means that 1.5 million metro Australians will be travelling to Boomtown this summer. And that doesn’t account for the additional 61% of regional Australians who will also holiday in a regional area.

The majority of those intending to travel over the summer period this year will be holidaying within Australia, with 52% intending to travel in their own state. And of the top 15 destinations to visit this summer, 10 are regional areas - from Margaret River to Newcastle.

Metro and regional holidaymakers are big spenders during summer holidays, with 54% spending in excess of $1,000 and 20% spending more than $2,000. That money will be spent on car hire, eating out and drinking alcohol, going to theme parks and sporting matches, going to shows and shopping.

On the topic of shopping, holidaymakers will also be partaking in post-Christmas sales with food the obvious most popular choice, with 74% buying more food over summer compared to the rest of the year. Fresh fruit, seafood, takeaway and café/restaurants, are the top choices.

Alcohol, petrol, entertainment, clothes and accessories, travel, beauty products and homewares are also popular purchases.

And while they’re away, holidaymakers do still listen to the radio (72%), browse the internet (68%), watch free-to-air TV (63%), scroll through social media (61%), stream music (37%), read newspapers (30%) and go to the movies (25%).

Radio, locally downloaded music and podcasts are the most popular on those long summer drives to holiday destinations – and a perfect opportunity to reach them.

There are some important lessons for marketers during the summer holiday period, which tradition shows is a time to wind down advertising activity. It’s not! Regional Australia is booming with holidaymakers keen to shop, go out and spend during their time off.

It’s not only city dwellers who want to spend, it’s also Boomtown residents. They take holidays too and want to enjoy everything their metro counterparts do. And everyone still consumes media in the holidays, making regional media assets an important opportunity for summer marketing plans.

It’s a key reason we established the Boomtown initiative, with eight media owners committed to shine a light on the benefits of advertising to and within regional Australia. Almost four in 10 people (36%) live in regional Australia, and that number swells considerably in summer holidays, yet only 10% of national media budgets are spent there. This market is clearly underserved and it presents a compelling story that can no longer afford to be overlooked. Summer in Boomtown never looked so good.

Source: * All statistic from SCA’s national online panel of 400,000 members, including metro and regional respondents; 93% are people aged 18+.

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