Australians are set to spend over $11 billion on Christmas presents this year, according to research from the Australian Retailers Association (ARA) in conjunction with Roy Morgan.
A “significant proportion” of this sum will come from online sales, as toys, jigsaw puzzles and boardgames top the list of most popular gifts.
The research finds that gift buyers are expected to spend an average of $726 each.
In good news for retailers, most respondents (79%) say they’ll spend the same or more than they did last year.
An average of 48% of Christmas presents are likely to be purchased online.
58% of respondents say they’ll purchase “more” or “significantly more” items online than they did last year.
The most popular gifts are toys, jigsaw puzzles and boardgames, mentioned by 20% of respondents who know what presents they’re going to buy.
This was followed by vouchers and gift cards (18%) and clothing, shoes and sleepwear (16%).
Nearly half of respondents (45%), however, say they are yet to make up their mind about what gifts they’ll purchase.
A ‘critical’ trading period
ARA CEO Paul Zahra says Christmas is a critical trading period, when most discretionary retailers make up to two-thirds of their profits for the year.
“The past few months have been a uniquely challenging time for most retailers, in particular small businesses navigating extended state-imposed lockdowns and restrictions that have limited their ability to trade,” he says.
“Despite this uncertainty, the good news is that consumer sentiment is upbeat for Christmas and retailers can look forward to healthy trading conditions over the busy festive season.
“Greater freedoms in locked down parts of the country are on the horizon and retailers can’t wait to have people back in their shops in the lead up to Christmas.
“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.
“With less than 15 weeks to go, the countdown is now on to the busiest time of year on the retail calendar, and with over $11 billion set to be spent on gifts this year, retailers look set to share in the Christmas spoils.”