DRIVING HOME: Samantha Vandertoorn, of Dunoon, and son Jakob Roberts, 9, test out remote control cars at Lismore’s Toy Kingdom.
DRIVING HOME: Samantha Vandertoorn, of Dunoon, and son Jakob Roberts, 9, test out remote control cars at Lismore’s Toy Kingdom. DAVID NIELSEN

Tough times all a big game

WHEN the going gets tough, Australians resort to the distraction of games, toys and hobbies.

The Bureau of Statistics this week released its annual consumer spending figures, which showed spending on games, toys and hobbies soared 36.7 per cent in the past year. Spending on recreational items and equipment was up by 20 per cent.

Owner of Lismore Toy Kingdom, Carmel Horner, said she was not surprised by the figures.

Mrs Horner said she had noticed a definite increase in sales, particularly around holiday times, and the average amount per customer was roughly double that of a year ago.

Topping the list of popular items were board games, remote control items, puzzles and building sets such as Leggo and Meccano, she said.

“We've noticed people are spending more because they want quality and longevity out of toys. There seems to be a backlash against plasticky, TV-associated games and toys. Family games continue to sell well all the time.”

Shopping for toys yesterday was Samantha Vandertoorn, of Dunoon, with her son Jakob Roberts, 9.

Ms Vandertoorn, a teacher, said she tended to buy toys as gifts, and was more inclined to spend on toys that were educational.

“I think these days families may be trying to direct their kids into more educational and family-oriented activities,” she said.

The figures released by the bureau showed Australians were not prepared to give up on hired help in tough times. Spending on domestic services increased by 12.7 per cent.

While Australians spent up big on having some wholesome fun, we apparently found it less important to invest in our journey to the afterlife. Spending on funeral services dropped by 26.4 per cent.

Families also made big cutbacks on child-care services, spending 19 per cent less in this area.

How we spend our money Per cent change from one year ago: • Medicines and medicinal aids + 18.6% • Personal effects + 17.7 % • Water and sewerage charges + 16.3% • Cinema and other admissions - 0.2 % • Motoring goods - 4.9% • Motoring fuel - 6.1% • Audio visual equipment - 7.5% • Photographic services - 8.8% • Doctors and health consultants - 7.9% • Purchase of vehicles - 11.2% • Sporting and recreational services +15.5% • Housing rent + 9.1% • Dry cleaning and laundry services + 8.6% • Dentists + 9.6% • Tools + 10.1%


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