146 billion reasons to celebrate Australia’s thriving nighttime economy

146 billion reasons to celebrate Australia’s thriving nighttime economy

Photo: Sydney Festival, via Facebook.

A new report commissioned by the Council of Capital City Lord Mayors (CCCLM) shows more businesses are entering the nighttime economy (NTE) with the sector accounting for more than a million jobs nationwide and $146 billion in sales turnover.

The Measuring the Australian Night Time Economy Report shows there were 131,370 core NTE establishments across Australia in FY22, representing 7 per cent growth on the previous period with the strongest growth seen in the leisure & entertainment sector at 12 per cent, of which half came from creative and performing arts activities.

As of June 2022 there were 20,438 more core NTE businesses in Australia than before the pandemic in June 2019, with an 18 per cent rise over that time indicating that despite the external challenges the sector has faced,  it continues to be resilient.

"The night time economy is where hospitality, events and accommodation providers really shine, and we are delighted to see Australians continuing to embrace food and entertainment after dark," says CCLM chair and Lord Mayor of Melbourne, Sally Capp.

"Despite the ongoing external challenges presented by the pandemic, and the new rhythms of people travelling in and out of cities, it’s clear that that night time economies are continuing to thrive.

"In 2023, the night time economy around Australia is thriving with unique and exciting businesses continuing to choose capital cities to make the most of the vibrant after dark scenes on offer."

Lord Mayor of Sydney, Clover Moore AO, notes that of the 89  local government areas analysed in the report, Sydney hosts the highest density of night-time establishments per square kilometre in Australia.

"It’s heartening to see the trajectory of these results as we want to keep our city safe, open and welcoming for everyone at all times of day," Moore said.

"For years our communities have told us they want a vibrant night-time city where businesses big and small can flourish.

"The report highlights an opportunity for businesses to extend, improve or diversify their evening activities to support a more interesting and successful night-time economy."

Penrith and Darwin had the strongest percentage growth in the number of establishments, while Brisbane and Sydney had the highest growth in terms of the absolute number of venues.

The Queensland capital saw the sharpest growth of 20 per cent in core NTE sales turnover to $9.5 billion, compared to a 6 per cent rise to $4.7 billion in the NSW capital. This disparity is largely explained by lockdowns in Sydney during the period.

In less encouraging news, core NTE employment declined in Hobart, Canberra, Adelaide and Melbourne.

City of Perth Lord Mayor Basil Zempilas said the West Australian capital's sales turnover was up a staggering 16 per cent on pre-pandemic levels, again outpacing the national average.

"The flow-on effect from vibrant streets full of people and activity, is jobs. In a period where making a living has never been harder, we saw a remarkable growth in employment in our city, surpassing pre-pandemic levels by 13 per cent. This easily outperformed national trends," Zempilas said.

Perth also saw a diversification in its nighttime economy away from a focus on drinking establishments.

"One of the really pleasing outcomes has been the diversification of our offerings here in the city. In the 2021/22 period alone, the number of leisure and entertainment establishments grew by 16 per cent, which included an impressive growth in sales turnover of 9 per cent within this night-time economy sub-sector," he said.

"In contrast, the number of drink establishments fell by 8 per cent through that period, which is a clear indicator that the mix of places and experiences in the city to take your family to or meet up with friends after work and on the weekends is changing."

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