ABS results confirm shift in Christmas shopping behaviour

Media Release

February 6, 2020

The National Retail Association (NRA) has said that today’s Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) retail trade figures for December 2019 confirm that Christmas shopping behaviour by Australian consumers has shifted.

Following a gigantic increase of 0.9 per cent in November, the December sales data reveals a drop in retail turnover of 0.5 per cent for December 2019.

NRA CEO Dominique Lamb said that these wide shifts in turnover between the two months demonstrates that increasing numbers of Australian consumers are now doing their Christmas shopping in late November rather than December.

“The shopping behaviour of Australian consumers is always changing, and this is best exemplified by the clear shift we’ve seen when it comes to making Christmas purchases,” Ms Lamb said.

“For November 2019 we saw turnover increase by an incredibly large 0.9 per cent, however the December figures shows a sizeable drop of 0.5 per cent.

“Black Friday and Cyber Monday have become increasingly popular, with shoppers making inroads into Christmas shopping by cashing in on these November bargain sales events.

“The important takeout for retailers is to be aware of this shift and understand it is likely to only become more pronounced in future years. Businesses should look to tailor their Christmas strategies to the last weekend of November which is bookended by Black Friday and Cyber Monday.”

In positive news, there was a rise of 0.5 per cent for the December quarter in retail sales, which contrasts favourably to the 0.1 per cent fall for the September quarter.

“The results for the December quarter were quite encouraging, with a better than expected rise of 0.5 per cent in retail sales. This further highlights the need to assess the Christmas shopping period as a whole and not simply December in isolation.”

Source: National Retail Association.

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