Easy like Sundae morning! Australians’ love for ice cream still growing

Easy like Sundae morning! Australians’ love for ice cream still growing

As we head into the winter months, Australians aren’t slowing down on purchasing their favourite frozen dessert, ice cream. The category has experienced diverse product innovation and creativity, with a broader range of products now available to consumers.

Nielsen Homescan data shows that on average, consumers are spending more on ice cream, as well as purchasing it more frequently, with a whopping 93% of consumers purchasing ice cream in the past year.

Dairy-based ice cream is still the largest segment contributing more than two thirds to the category, however the non-dairy sector including water based ice cream and sorbet is driving much more significant growth overall.

Australian consumers appear to have developed a more sophisticated palate, with category growth also coming from non-traditional flavours including the likes of raspberry and white chocolate, rhubarb, custard and blood orange. In fact, 62% of category’s total dollar growth came from flavours outside of the top 20. This is a reflection of the growing trend in premium, indulgent ice cream flavours – an opportunity for ice cream manufacturers to explore further. Findings from Nielsen’s Global Premiumisation Survey shows that almost a quarter (23%) of Australian respondents say they would consider buying or spending more than average for a premium product within the dairy category.

Everyone across all life stages has bought more ice cream in the past year, though the biggest contributor to the category were smaller (1-2 person) households without kids (e.g., independent singles, established couples and senior couples).   

When it comes to the type of ice cream consumers are purchasing, tubs and sticks are the most popular with more households purchasing four, six and 24 packs in the past year. Sticks and bars, however, have gained strong value sales growth over the past year.  

As summer is well and truly behind us, retailers looking to capitalise on Aussies love for the frozen dessert should be strategic in the range they offer and stock up on exotic and innovative flavours, especially during key times and occasions throughout the year.

Nielsen’s Global Premiumisation Report shows that around the world, the availability of new, innovative brands is fueling growth in the premium segment across many categories. These fresh offerings can bring excitement and increased marketing spend to a category.

In the ice cream category, opportunities remain for established brands in the premium space. By leveraging their infrastructure and retail partnerships, large companies, in particular, are uniquely positioned to reach a large consumer base with premium offerings.


Measuring what consumers buy is at the core of Nielsen’s 90 year history. Our Homescan Shopper Panel was established in 1986 and is robust, trusted, credible, and one of the biggest shopper panels per capita in the world. It monitors shopper behaviour across a panel of 10,000 households which is projected to accurately represent the Australian population and retailing landscape.

When integrated with retail sales data, the powerful insights drawn from our Shopper Panel enables you to identify the ‘why’ as well as the ‘what’ behind your brand sales allowing you to fine-tune your marketing strategies.