Christmas sales already underway

christmas, tree, airportCommonwealth Bank says 74 per cent of retailers won’t be changing their approach to sales this Christmas, even though about half (46 per cent) of their customers expect larger discounts during the festive season.

Christmas sales have already begun for 18 per cent of Australian retailers, and by early November this will have risen to 70 per cent, according to CBA’s latest research from the Retail Insights Report, due out in October.

The research found that at this time almost one in two (49 per cent) shoppers will have started their Christmas shopping and almost 70 per cent of shoppers said they will buy something for themselves during the Christmas period.

As some Aussies start to prepare their gift lists, the research shows shoppers won’t see increased price cuts in the lead up to Christmas.

“With three months to go until Christmas, retailers are holding fast to their usual festive season sales strategy,” said Jerry Macey, national manager retail, CBA. “We are most likely to see initial discounts of 20 per cent, broadly in line with other sales throughout the year.”

Macey said although many shoppers expect significant discounts prior to Christmas, retailers are seeking to strike a balance between offering some discounts and maintaining profit margins. “They want and need to make the most of their busiest time of year.

“With sales ingrained in our psyche, price cuts are now expected by shoppers. However, savvy retailers understand their client base and have a defined strategy for sales throughout the year.

“This is also beneficial in the longer-term for consumers, because they can continue to enjoy their favourite brands and shopping experiences when retailers operate healthy businesses,” said Macey.

When looking at post-Christmas sales, there is a sharp increase in the number of shoppers (71 per cent) expecting even greater discounts than offered throughout the rest of the year. As a result, almost one in two shoppers (48 per cent) are delaying some or all of their purchasing until after Christmas to access better deals. This is most prominent in the clothing and footwear category (53 per cent).

Retailers are also planning to offer far greater discounts post-Christmas, with businesses in all categories other than food and beverage planning a 50 per cent cut.

“Of course, not everyone celebrates Christmas – and whether they do or not, waiting for a deeper discount is a well-established consumer trend since the advent of the Boxing Day sale. Smart retailers will have a clear strategy for post-Christmas sales that works for them and their customer base,” said Macey.

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