The fashion may be bright and the horses in fine form, but the number of racegoers and spending at the Melbourne Cup Carnival is tipped to fall this year.
Business information analysts at IBISWorld predict spending will fall 6.1 per cent to $268.9 million at the Melbourne Cup Carnival this year, while crowds will be down one per cent to just below 350,000.
Tourism is tipped to be the biggest loser, dropping an estimated 9.4 per cent, as international visitors are deterred by the high dollar and fewer people travel from interstate or regional areas for the festivities.
Spending on beauty is also forecast to drop 8.7 per cent as more people shun salons for a do-it-yourself approach.
But fashion spending is expected to rise one per cent to reach $30.3 million, IBISWorld says.
And punting is tipped to rise 1.6 per cent, putting gambling ahead of all other Cup spending.
IBISWorld says smaller crowds are likely on the back of last year’s landmark 150th anniversary.
It says that compared to other gambling spending, spending on horse races is very sensitive to economic conditions.
“Yet rising spending on fashion indicates people are still willing to splurge a little on something special,” IBISWorld general manager in Australia Karen Dobie said.
“Spending is expected to rise on essentials such as dresses, suits and hats, but accessories will suffer as we’ll be more inclined to make do with last year’s handbag or earrings.”
IBISWorld predicts $6.7 million will be splurged on dresses and suits, $6.18 million on hats and fascinators and almost $6 million on shoes.
Over the past five years, attendance at Melbourne’s Spring Racing Carnival has fallen 12 per cent, a trend likely to continue, Ms Dobie said.