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Bumper Christmas to provide online boost for retailers

Alexandra Vanags
15 September 2021 1 minute readShare
Bumper Christmas to provide online boost for retailers

Consumers are set to maintain their spending levels despite lockdowns, with almost half of shopping to be done online. However, supply chains will come under pressure.

Australians are expected to buy almost half (48%) of their Christmas presents online this year, out of a total predicted spend of $11 billion, according to research from the Australian Retailers Association (ARA) and Roy Morgan. More than three-quarters of people (79%) say they’ll spend more or the same as they did last year.

According to the survey of around 3,000 people, each person will spend an average of $726 and the biggest spend is expected from the 35–49-year age group. Consumers in NSW are the biggest spenders, forecast to spend an average of $902 on their Christmas gifts, followed by Tasmanians at $813, Queenslanders at $705, Victorians at $652, South Australians at $645 and Western Australians at $472.

Among those who have decided what gifts they’ll purchase, the most popular are toys, jigsaw puzzles and board games, followed by vouchers, gift cards, clothing, shoes and sleepwear.

It’s encouraging research for retailers, especially discretionary retailers who make two-thirds of their profit around Christmas, according to Paul Zahra, CEO of the ARA.

“The past few months have been a uniquely challenging time for most retailers, in particular small businesses navigating extended state-imposed lockdowns and restrictions that have limited their ability to trade. Despite this uncertainty, the good news is that consumer sentiment is upbeat for Christmas and retailers can look forward to healthy trading conditions over the busy festive season,” Mr Zahra said.

He called the significant proportion of online shopping unsurprising, saying this trend has been accelerated due to the pandemic. At the same time, Mr Zahra warned of the “strain our supply chains are under” and said retailers are already facing “Christmas levels of demand with current online purchases”.

Michele Levine, Roy Morgan CEO, said the survey shows considerable optimism in the community and a bumper Christmas retailing season ahead despite lockdowns.

“NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian has announced Greater Sydney will start to open up in mid-October as vaccination targets are met and the hope is that there will be a similar opening up in Victoria soon after — just in time for the Christmas retailing season which traditionally fires up in early November,” Ms Levine said.

Bumper Christmas to provide online boost for retailers
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Alexandra Vanags

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