City workers, residents and students spent more than $3 billion on shopping, eating and drinking within the City of Melbourne in 2015.

That represents a 16 per cent increase on spending since 2013, according to an analysis of consumption in central Melbourne released by the city council.

The growth in consumption is driven mostly by the City of Melbourne’s rising population, now nearing 130,000, with many of them living within the CBD itself.

City residents spent $1.34 billion annually on shopping and dining out, an increase of 19 per cent since 2013, according to the report. 

City workers spent $1.17 billion, a 13 per cent increase since 2013.

Lord Mayor Robert Doyle said more than 800 new hospitality businesses had opened in the city since 2006, equivalent to more than one cafe, restaurant or bar opening every week.

The retail vacancy rate was the lowest in five years at 2.4 per cent on town hall’s figures in July last year.

“Everyone wants a piece of Melbourne,” Cr Doyle said.

But the Lord Mayor has also noted previously that the rush of high-rise residents in central Melbourne is proving a challenge for further commercial development– and room for jobs growth – as more space is taken over for apartments.  

In-depth research into spending habits by both city hall and state government found  22 per cent of workers now spend $15-$20 for lunch. That is a 16 per cent rise since 2014.

Some 80 per cent of workers are willing to travel up to three blocks to buy their lunch or shop.

As well, the research showed shopping outside traditional business hours was on the increase: 44 per cent of workers shop after they have clocked off and 7 per cent of workers shop before work.

Read more: http://www.afr.com/real-estate/a-3b-shopping-and-dining-boom-in-the-melbourne-cbd