Counting on Christmas

 

present, mouse, ecommerce, christmas, onlineAustralian consumers are tipped to spend big in the lead up to Christmas this year, but new data has revealed shoppers will show loyalty to traditional retailers, with most likely to choose bricks over clicks.

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According to figures released by the Australian Retailers Association (ARA) and Roy Morgan Research this week, pre-Christmas spending will top $45 billion between November 15 and December 24 – a 4.3 per cent gain on last year.

Deloitte’s Christmas report, Making Sense of the Silly Season, found three quarters of retailers are expecting holiday sales to be higher than last year, however, the gains are expected to be modest, with no retailers expecting more than five per cent sales growth.

Despite expectations around online sales growth continuing to outpace overall sales expectations, Deloitte’s report says e-commerce growth has slowed slightly, highlighting that online accounts for only a small part of total sales.

In 2013, Australians spent $14.7 billion shopping online, accounting for around 6.5 per cent of total retail spending.

Russell Zimmerman, executive director of the ARA, says online will be an important part of Christmas retailing, but factors like the value of the Australian dollar will influence purchasing behaviour.

“The dollar may take the shine off people buying online,” says Zimmerman.

“We’ve had good growth in online, but we can’t keep that up forever, so we’re starting to see a bit of a slowdown.”

Booktopia CEO, Tony Nash, says savvy online shoppers are getting in earlier each year, and this year online retailers will be more “accountable and reliable” than before, following multi-million dollar upgrades to Australia Post sites in Sydney and Melbourne.

“Online shopping lends itself to the early bird shopper. Last minute shopping and desperation shopping will always happen at the retail outlet because customers need it in their hands,” Nash told Inside Retail PREMIUM.

Booktopia is forecasting year on year growth of 45 per cent this Christmas, following its move from a 4000sqm distribution centre to a 10,000sqm site earlier this year.

“We did $5 million last year and we’re aiming for $7 million for November. Christmas shopping used to start towards the end of November, but as online shoppers get more experienced they’re buying earlier each year, the sales are happening earlier.”

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