News.au.com: Auckland’s south coast has seen an uptown comfort consigning boom, with consigners increasingly choosing to travel through the South Island.
A study by PropertyInfo found the city’s population grew by just over a million in the year to March, and the number of Southern comfort goods sold grew by more than two million.
And that was just the consignment market.
In the past year, more than 2,300 Southern comfort items have been sold, and over 800,000 Southern comfort bags have been purchased.
“The demand is outstripping the supply,” said Simon Farrar, CEO of PropertyInfo.
It is also a trend that is starting to affect the bigger cities, as the majority of people who visit Auckland this year will be in South Auckland, with the majority buying the bags.
PropertyInfo’s research showed Southern comfort products accounted for 30 per cent of all the goods sold by Southern retailers.
The other key factor is that South Auckland has seen a boom in Southern comfort brands.
While the overall trend is to stay away from South Auckland for Southern comfort, the majority are opting to spend their money in South Island towns.
South Island cities and towns are getting more comfortable, and are more likely to buy Southern comfort.
So what are the biggest differences between South Island and Auckland?
“Auckland has been on the back foot for quite some time,” Mr Farrary said.
With the price of housing having been spiralling out of control, South Island shoppers are now buying up the most desirable goods and services in the region, like the best restaurants and bars.
But South Island is also getting a taste of the luxury items that are in Southern consignment.
According to PropertyInfo, over the past two years Southern comfort has increased by more then 50 per cent, with more than 1,100 Southern comfort options available for sale in the last year.
Consignment companies are also starting to cater to a growing population of people.
This year, over 300,000 bags of Southern Comfort have been delivered to Southern consignors in Auckland, and another 500,000 bagging companies are now looking to supply Southern consigning stores with more Southern comfort offerings.
Some of these Southern comfort businesses are also expanding their presence in Auckland.
For example, New Zealand luxury luxury brand New World Bag & Club opened in the CBD in the past few months, and is expanding its South Island presence.
More than 200 people have been hired to run the store, which is opening its first outlet in the Queenstown suburb of Bairnsdale, and also has a small cafe, boutique, and catering service.
New World Bag’s founder, James Sturgess, said the move was a step in the right direction.
He said the new location will help to further drive up the South Islands’ tourism profile, which was only recently getting a boost from the city.
Mr Sturgesses said South Islanders are now starting to get the most luxurious Southern comfort product, and that Southern comfort is now the preferred choice for tourists visiting the region.
Southern comfort also has attracted a lot of attention from big names in South Australia.
Sydney-based luxury bag manufacturer Bags & Pockets recently announced it was opening a store in the capital, Adelaide.
Bags & pockets is looking to add Southern comfort to its existing products, and Mr Sturges said it was important to bring Southern comfort back into the mainstream.
Even though South Island consumers are buying Southern comfort in greater numbers, Mr Fargar said that the market was still very young.
Many Southern comfort consumers are now opting to buy goods from the region’s other big cities, like Adelaide, and those who buy Southern Comfort are also buying products from the country’s other major shopping centres.
As a result, Southern comfort retailers are already seeing the benefits of a growing Southern comfort market.
“It’s a trend, and it’s happening right now,” Mr Strugs said.
“There are still lots of buyers coming from the South.”
“They’re coming from all over, and many are going to Adelaide, so we have to continue to expand the range of Southern products, because that’s where the demand is.”
A spokeswoman for the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission said Southern comfort was already in a period of boom and bust.
She said Southern consumers were buying Southern goods in a boom period, but then going into a period where Southern comfort prices dropped.
ABC Rural reporter Matt Hickey is on a mission to uncover the secrets of South Island luxury.
Follow Matt on Twitter: @matthewhickey