Australia is an affluent society with a rising number of two-income households who are eating more meals outside the home. The Australian foodservice industry is a vibrant and growing market, offering all types of cuisines and eating options. There are approximately 70,000 foodservice commercial outlets and 15,000 institutional businesses. The market for foodservice equipment is valued at US$1.3 billion and is forecast to grow by four percent in 2010. Imports supply 80 percent of the market and originate from China (32 percent import market share), Italy (20 percent), Germany (eight percent), and the United States (eight percent). U.S.-made equipment enjoys a high quality image in this market. The Free Trade Agreement between Australia and the U.S. (AUSFTA) has eliminated import duties on U.S.-made equipment. This, together with an extremely-favorable exchange rate, provides U.S. exporters with an ideal opportunity for increased sales to Australia.
Demand for foodservice equipment slumped in 2009 due to the effects of the global financial crisis, notably reduced consumer confidence and rising unemployment. Economists were predicting that the unemployment rate could rise to eight percent by the end of the year, but by December 2009 the rate settled at 5.5 percent.
Indications are that the unemployment rate and general economic conditions will continue to improve over 2010.
Australia’s reputation as a favored destination among many international tourists, has a strong influence on the foodservice sector. The global financial crisis saw tourist consumption fall 3.5 percent in 2009 due to the poor performance of domestic tourism, a modest downturn in inbound international visits, and an increase in Australian outbound travel. Despite the sharp fall in global GDP, between January and October 2009, the number of short-term international visitor arrivals to Australia fell by just over one percent, while global international travel fell by around seven percent. The Australian tourism industry is forecast to improve in 2010 with the number of inbound international visits to increase by four percent.
The foodservice equipment market is forecast to grow by four percent in 2010. Most of this growth will be driven by the restaurants, cafes, hotels, and other outlets within the commercial sector. Equipment offering the latest technology and design will continue to be in demand with major foodservice groups. Both the commercial and institutional foodservice sectors rely on well-functioning equipment, fast replacement parts, and quick-servicing to ensure business operations are at optimal levels.