Visitors and customers

Oxford Street

The mix of visitors to Oxford Street village is as diverse as the mix of businesses within.

The village has strong and frequent visitation from locals in the area, but also draws in crowds from numerous other suburbs.

There is a diversity of incomes of visitors to the area, attracting couples with no kids and higher disposable incomes as well as students with more restricted spending patterns.

The village, particularly along Oxford Street itself has a strong night-time visitation that runs into the early hours of the morning.

The unique and vibrant culture has appealed to the younger generations, resulting in a growth in backpacker accommodation. 

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Oxford Street visitor profile

A customer intercept survey on Oxford Street, conducted in November 2013 provides an understanding of the types of visitors to Oxford Street village and their behaviours. These results provide a broad indication of trends in visitation.

Table 10 summarises the origin of the shoppers surveyed. Respondents to the intercept survey lived in 156 different suburb locations which highlight the attraction of Oxford Street village to a diverse range of visitors. However the bulk of the frequent visitors are from local areas, with around 68% of respondents coming from the City of Sydney and the eastern suburbs. The survey also showed that 7% of the visitors to the area were there for the first time.

Table 10 – Oxford Street Intercept Survey, Origin of Respondents

Customer Place of Residence 2013
Paddington 23%
Darlinghurst 8%
Surry Hills 7%
Centennial Park 4%
Other City of Sydney 11%
Eastern Suburbs 15%
Source: Oxford Street Customer Intercept Survey, November 2013 – Directional Insights

Table 11 summarises the key characteristics of shoppers interviewed in the intercept survey. It shows that the most dominant form of visitor is young singles, with the visitors' purpose split evenly between purpose/mission driven and leisure oriented purposes. In terms of household structure, Single Income No Kids (SINK) and Double Income No Kids (DINK) households make up 74% of the visitors surveyed, suggestive of a greater disposable income. This is contrasted with the high student visitation levels that tend to have weaker spending patterns.

When questioned on their perceptions of the shopping strip, survey respondents saw Oxford Street as a 'cultural cache', a historic brand and a precinct with a lively nightlife.

Table 11 – Oxford Street Intercept Survey, Key Characteristics

Customer Characteristic 2013
Average Customer Age 40
Average Customer Household Income (All days) $96,200
Most Common Life stage of Customer Young singles
Proportion of Customers who visit Oxford Street weekly or more often 62%
Most popular method of travel to Oxford Street Walking (52%)
Purpose of visitation  
Purpose/Mission driven 50%
Leisure oriented 50%
Visited or likely to visit a Restaurant/ Café/ Hotel 31%
Source: Oxford Street Customer Intercept Survey, November 2013 – Directional Insights

Night-time visitation

During the day, Oxford Street village is a cosmopolitan area busy with people eating, drinking, shopping and wandering. The area is however well renowned for its night-time activity where bars and nightclubs open and some shops remain open until late to make the most of this pedestrian traffic.

Pedestrian counts conducted along Oxford Street in 2012/13 showed that the peak of night-time activity in this area occurs between 10pm and 1am. This activity would primarily be driven by the bar and nightclub scene.

Night time visitation to Oxford Street, as measured by pedestrian counts is not as large as the city centre in the early hours of the evening, but activity tends to pick up later and pedestrian activity is about equal to the city centre after midnight. At around 9pm on a Friday, pedestrian counts on Oxford Street were around 1,500 per hour compared to 5,000 in the city centre, however by 1am the figures were 2,900 per hour on Oxford Street and 2,500 in the city centre. This shows that the nightlife in the village tends to start later, but also carry on later.

Visitor accommodation

The 2012 Floor Space and Employment Survey also covers the supply of visitor accommodation available within Oxford Street village, providing a broad indication of the capacity of the area to accommodate overnight visitors.

The most prevalent form of visitor accommodation within the village is hotel accommodation, with 956 rooms in 2012, as evident in Table 12. This type of visitor accommodation has seen a minor decline in the number of rooms, but there is still a significant supply of hotel-style accommodation.

Oxford Street village has seen a 36.5% increase the number of backpacker accommodation beds, with 172 beds as at 2012. This highlights the popularity of the village amongst younger people, particularly students.

Table 12 – Visitor Accommodation, 2012

2007 2012 Change % Change
Hotel Accommodation (Rooms) 994 956 -38 -3.8%
Serviced Apartments (Units) 0 0 0 n.a.
Backpacker Accommodation (Beds) 126 172 46 36.5%
Source: Floor Space and Employment Survey, 2012 – City of Sydney

Contribution of tourists

While reliable data on the number of overnight visitors and their economic contribution is not available for areas as small as Oxford Street village, it is worthwhile considering data available for the City of Sydney local area, which gives an idea of the scale of their contribution.

Table 12 shows data from Tourism Research Australia (TRA) on overnight visitors to the City of Sydney in 2013. It shows that interstate visitors have a slightly higher spend per night than intrastate ones ($201 versus $173). While the spend per night for international visitors is significantly lower at $100, their trip duration is much longer, making the overall contribution per trip higher than domestic visitors.

Considering the fairly low representation of visitors from outside Sydney shown in the intercept survey, this data could be viewed as an indicator of the potential benefits to the village if visitation from non-Sydney residents was increased.

Table 12 – Overnight Visitor Characteristics, City of Sydney, 2013

Visitors (‘000) Visitor Nights (‘000) Average stay (nights) Average nightly expenditure*
Intrastate 1,462 2,758 1.9 $173
Interstate 2,504 6,176 2.5 $201
International 2,030 30,042 14.8 $100
*Estimates for Metropolitan Sydney in 2012/13
Source: Tourism Research Australia

What does this mean for my business?

The available research suggests that local residents form a core market for many businesses in Oxford Street village. This demonstrates that understanding these local markets is key for successful business planning (noting of course that each business faces its own unique set of circumstances).

Analysis of tourist spending data highlights the potential benefits for local businesses in reaching out to this market.

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This information has been compiled from various sources. The publisher and contributors accept no responsibility for any injury, loss or damage arising from the use, error or omissions therein. While all care is taken to ensure a high degree of accuracy, users are invited to notify the City of Sydney of any discrepancies. No part of this information, including maps or data, may be reproduced without written permission.

Last updated: Tuesday, 16 June 2015