Make them, or break them. New Year resolutions are still great for business

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So what’s your New Year resolution?

What you decide has profound consequences beyond your own wellbeing, or satisfaction. What you and I resolve – perhaps only to break – has significance for businesses. Or at least some businesses.

Business researcher IBISWorld has scanned some numbers and come up with a list of businesses that will likely enjoy a boom in the new year, and some others that won’t.

No prizes for guessing the favourite resolutions or the businesses that stand to benefit most. Still, some numbers might surprise.

Here are the top five New Year resolutions, and what they mean for business:

#1. Weight loss

This one’s a no-brainer. With 63% of Australians either obese or overweight, much is sought to be done. Businesses that will benefit most from this headlong rush include books, food and beverages, dietary supplements, nutritionists, dietitians, weight-loss counselling and surgery. In 2012-13, IBISWorld expects Australia’s weight loss industry to grow by 1.2% to $827.1 million. Weight loss services account for nearly half of this segment but the fastest-growing one is surgery – forecast to grow 4.7% over the next five years to $151.9 million in 2017-18.

#2. Smoking

The number of smokers has steadily declined across the country. Still, in 2011-12, there were 2.8 million Australians aged 18 years and over – or 16.3% of the population – that smoked daily. The tobacco industry is forecast to decline 0.6% to $1.5 billion, but ones that gain might be makers of nicotine patches and other aids to quit smoking.

#3. Fitness

Traditionally, gyms and fitness centres attract the highest numbers of members in the first two months of the year. So it will be party time for gyms, group fitness classes, boot camps, yoga and martial arts classes, personal trainers and makers of athletic gear. In 2012-13, IBISWorld expects fitness-minded Australians to spend $3.1 billion on fitness services; and $1.2 billion on fitness and athletic clothing.

#4. Debt

Household debt is at a 20-year high, accounting for over 10% of disposable income, according to IBISWorld. After growing 2% over the past two years, it’s time to tighten up, given the uncertain global economic situation. IBISWorld expects prudent spending to return in 2013, meaning cutbacks on retail, clothing, domestic appliance and furniture.

#5. Leisure

You can’t keep the true Aussie indoors. What’s more, no cutbacks on the outdoors, mate. In 2012-13, IBISWorld expects spending on recreation and culture to rise 3.3% to $88.2 billion. The amount means households would spend over 11% of their consumption expenditure on recreation including sport, sporting events and visits to galleries, museums, cinemas, zoological parks and botanic gardens. Australians will spend $71.9 billion on domestic tourism expenditure and $13.9 billion on dining out.

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