Euro summer nights beckon

Whether dining at a restaurant on Paris’ Left Bank or seeking the sun on the Amalfi Coast, many Australians are tipped to treat themselves to European summer spending as they flock overseas in coming months.

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ANZ debit and credit card customer data shows Australians have descended upon the United Kingdom, Italy, France, Greece, and other European countries since the COVID-19 pandemic.

" Last year 110,200 ANZ card holders travelled to Europe for the Euro Summer, spending a total of $313.3 million, up 47 per cent from a year earlier.”

Last year 110,200 ANZ card holders travelled to Europe for the Euro Summer, spending a total of $313.3 million, up 47 per cent from a year earlier. “Euro Summer” visitors are identified as card holders who made offline card purchases in Europe during June, July and August.

This eclipsed the pre-COVID figure of $208 million recorded in 2019. Spending in Europe plummeted during the pandemic, with card holders spending just $12.5 million in 2020 and $15.7 million in 2021, as restrictions kept most people at home.

This year the figure is predicted to be even higher and hit $322 million with growth of 2.74 per cent – based on spending growth rates year on year.

With the additional boost of an Olympic year, spending could be even higher. Visa merchants’ data crunched by ANZ analysts shows flight bookings to Paris surged in line with when the Olympic ticket lottery results were released in February last year.

The ANZ card holder spending details paint an interesting profile of the Australian holidaymaker.

ANZ card holders are more likely to travel in July, with Qantas being the preferred airline. Holidaymakers book tickets and hotels in April and May and their European sojourn generally lasts for 14 days.

But on a much more granular level the data shows how ANZ card holders are choosing to travel across the continent, along with what they are splurging on when relaxing in the sun.

Average spend

Last year ANZ card holders spent an average of $2,833 during their Euro Summer trips (excluding flights and hotel bookings made prior to travelling).

Given Victoria’s reputation for a cold winter it perhaps should not surprise that Victorians spent the most on Euro Summer last year – each card holder splurging $3,048 on average or a grand total of $99 million (up from $69.2 million in 2022).

Comparing 2023 to 2022 card holder spend, the biggest rises in total spending came from South Australians ($8.75 million to $18.19 million), Tasmanians ($2.55 million to $5.02 million) and West Australians ($23.06 million to $42.32 million).

Hot destinations

And which countries are the main destinations for ANZ card holders heading to Europe?

Topping the list is Great Britain with card holders spending $78.89 million there last year, up 32 per cent from the year before.

A large portion was spent on food and restaurants at $11.7 million (up 36 per cent from the year before) and car rentals at $9.2 million (a rise of 55 per cent).

Second most popular was Italy, where card holders spent $52.16 million (up 71 per cent). Spending in Italy included clothing and accessories stores at $7.3m (up 43 per cent) and precious stones, watches and jewelry at $3.1 million (up 92 per cent).

Coming in third was France, where card holders spent $32.64 million (up 37 per cent). Spending included food and restaurants at $5.4 million (up 70 per cent), entertainment at $900,000 (up 75 per cent) and department stores at $1.3 million (up 12 per cent).

Increasing in popularity is the Netherlands which soared 105 per cent to $22.42 million from $10.92 million the year before.

When it comes to seeing the sights of Europe, ANZ card holder statistics reveal it is both young and old Australians making the journey and spending big.

Cardholders over 60 years of age led the spending hitting $93.64 million in 2023 – a 75 per cent jump from a year earlier. Under-20 travelers also increased spending by a considerable 46 per cent last year.

Broken down by gender, men did 56 per cent of the spending and women 44 per cent. But female spending did increase in 2023 by 52 per cent on the previous year, while male spending rose 44 per cent in the same period.

Sunny days ahead

While the main goal set by ANZ card holders is saving or paying off a property (19 per cent), coming in a close second is saving for a holiday (17 per cent), up 5 per cent from last year.

Credit cards are the preferred payment method accounting for 70 per cent of all Euro Summer card transactions last year. However, debit card spend has increased 46 per cent since 2019.

While the composition of where, when and how ANZ card holders spend their Euro Summer can change – it’s undeniable a midwinter break in sunnier climes is now a fixture for many.

Yiken Yang is Deposits and Payments Lead, ANZ


The information provided in this article is based on data collected by ANZ’s Retail Analytics team in accordance with the ANZ Credit Card Conditions Of Use and ANZ Privacy Policy.

The views and opinions expressed in this communication are those of the author and may not necessarily state or reflect those of ANZ.

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