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The last supper: ownership of fine china and premium tableware plummets

Source: Roy Morgan Single Source (Australia), Jan-Dec 2010 (n=18,817) and Jan-Dec 2014 (n=15,944).

Is this the end of civilisation as we know it? School kids who don’t give up their train seats for old ladies, people who fiddle with their mobile phone while you’re talking to them, families eating dinner on the couch in front of the TV… As if that’s not uncouth enough, the latest findings from Roy Morgan Research show that the number of Australians who own premium tableware/fine china has plummeted by more than a million people in just five years!

In 2010, 4,058,000 Australians 14+ (22.2% of the population) reported that they had premium tableware/fine china in their household. Last year, this had fallen to 3,039,000 people (15.7%). Over the same period, the proportion of Aussies who held a dinner party in an average three months fell from 24.2% to 22.9%, with entertaining friends or relatives at home declining even more markedly (from 65.3% of the population doing it to 58.8%).

Could the days of getting out the fine china and silver cutlery for visiting dinner guests be numbered? Well, yes and no. While the proportion of Australians who own fine china/premium tableware has fallen since 2010, these people are much more likely to throw dinner parties and entertain friends and relatives than the average Aussie.

Dinner parties and entertaining at home: 2010 vs 2014


Source: Roy Morgan Single Source (Australia), Jan-Dec 2010 (n=18,817) and Jan-Dec 2014 (n=15,944).

Furthermore, as the chart above indicates, dinner parties are becoming increasingly popular among people with premium tableware/fine china at home, even as the general population slowly seems to be losing interest in throwing them.

Who are these people?

Perhaps not surprisingly, six in every 10 people who live in a household with fine china/ premium tableware are aged 50 or older. Almost 50% more likely than the average Aussie to enjoy drinking wine with their meals, they tend to be married, and belong to the affluent AB or C socio-economic quintiles.

Michele Levine, CEO, Roy Morgan Research, says:

“Much like analogue telephones and golliwogs, fine china/premium tableware seems to be becoming obsolete in Australian households, with the number of people owning them falling dramatically over the last five years. During this same period, the proportion of Aussies throwing dinner parties has stagnated, while entertaining friends and family at home has declined quite markedly. Coincidence or connection?

“The fact that people who own fine china/premium tableware are significantly more likely than the average Australian to hold dinner parties and entertain friends and family at home suggests that there is a connection. However, like the chicken and the egg, it’s difficult to know which came first: do these people throw dinner parties because they own fine china and want to use it, or did they buy their premium tableware because they love entertaining at home?

“What’s more, a higher-than-average proportion of this group often receives compliments on their cooking … and what better way to serve up a well-cooked meal to an appreciative audience than on nice tableware?

“Mature, affluent and sociable, Australia’s fine china owners may be a gradually dying breed, but they’re certainly going out in style…”  

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About Roy Morgan

Roy Morgan is the largest independent Australian research company, with offices throughout Australia, as well as in Indonesia, the United States and the United Kingdom. A full service research organisation specialising in omnibus and syndicated data, Roy Morgan has over 70 years’ experience in collecting objective, independent information on consumers.

Margin of Error

The margin of error to be allowed for in any estimate depends mainly on the number of interviews on which it is based. Margin of error gives indications of the likely range within which estimates would be 95% likely to fall, expressed as the number of percentage points above or below the actual estimate. Allowance for design effects (such as stratification and weighting) should be made as appropriate.

Sample Size

Percentage Estimate


25% or 75%

10% or 90%

5% or 95%