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$11 Billion Holiday Season On The Cards For Oz

Australian retail could be looking at an $11 billion holiday season, with new research from Roy Morgan and the ARA showing a hefty chunk of this is set to come from online sales.

An SMS survey of 3162 Australians aged 18+, including 2362 who plan to buy Christmas gifts, found that on average, buyers will spend $726 on presents, with 79 per cent indicating they will spend the same amount or more on gifts this year than last year.

An average 48 per cent of Christmas presents will be bought online, with 58 per cent of those surveyed saying they will buy more items online this year than in 2020. Toys, board games, and jigsaw puzzles are the top category, with 20 per cent planning to buy them this year, followed by vouchers and gift cards at 18 per cent; tech items came in sixth, at 10 per cent, while 45 per cent said they haven’t yet made up their minds.

Michele Levine, Roy Morgan.

According to Roy Morgan CEO Michele Levine, there is “considerable optimism” in the community for Christmas sales, with a record amount to be spent online.

“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.

“In the first week of September, Australians are planning on spending over $11 billion on gifts for family, friends and colleagues for Christmas this year and with a lack of spending options during lockdown, the chances are this figure will be exceeded as we open up in the months ahead,” she said.

Paul Zahra, ARA.

Paul Zahra, CEO of the Australian Retailers Association, said discretionary retailers rake in up to two thirds of their annual profits from holiday sales, and with consumer sentiment “upbeat”, the sector can look forward to a good Christmas season after the long trials of COVID lockdowns.

“Not surprisingly, a significant amount of Christmas shopping is set to be done online this year which is an accelerating trend as a result of the pandemic.

“Consumers should be mindful of the strain our supply chains are under and make sure they get their online orders in on time to avoid disappointment. We might be in September, but we’re already seeing Christmas levels of demand with current online purchases,” he said.

NSW consumers are forecast to spend an average of $902 on gifts this year, followed by Tasmanians at $813, Queenslanders at $705, Victorians at $652, South Australians at $645 and West Australians at $472.

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