Australians to spend $51 billion this holiday period

Australians will spend more than $51 billion across retail stores over the Christmas trading period, a 2.9 per cent increase over the previous year, according to the Australian Retailers Association (ARA) and Roy Morgan.

The positive forecast follows a recent rise in consumer spending, and ARA executive director Russell Zimmerman said he is confident that the retail sector will see 3.67 per cent year-on-year growth.

“Christmas is a joyous and celebrated event, admired by Australians who embrace the season of giving,” Zimmerman said.

“With the retail landscape continuing to adapt to changes in the industry, we can rely on this season to bring stability to retailers.”

While each sector is predicted to grow, it is expected that food retailing will see the largest growth of 3.7 per cent to $21 billion, compared with last year’s $20.1 billion.

Additionally, the restaurant and cafe industry is to see strong growth of 3.2 per cent, while the clothing category is to see a further $4 billion – equating to a 3.1 per cent increase year over year.

While NSW is set to bring in $16.6 billion in sales over the period (an increase of 3.1 per cent), Victoria is predicted to grow by 5.2 per cent compared with last year to bring in $13.5 billion.

“As the online retail market continues to expand, the ARA are also predicting online gift purchases to increase by 2.7 per cent with Australian shoppers expected to purchase many of their gifts online this year,” Zimmerman said.

Omni-channel retailers are likely to see an increase in click-and-collect as well as store-to-door delivery options across the holiday period, as more customers use a retailer’s online offering as a catalogue to decide what to buy.

“I think customers are demanding convenience. We see a very positive future for [Big W Online] and the role it will play in Christmas, both in terms of helping customers research for their shop in-store, but also to have their Christmas products or gifts delivered conveniently or for customers to pick up in-store,” Big W general manager of marketing Kristen Linders said.

Linders said that a small number of customers who enter the store with the intention of picking up an online order go on to purchase further items in-store, increasing conversion further.

While Catch Group has yet to outline its seasonal offering, chief executive Nati Harpaz has said it will be “unbeatable”.

“We are planning a few really exciting days, with great shopping offers,” Harpaz said.

“Ultimately consumers are smart and they read between the lines. We will make sure our offers are the best.”

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