Australians are set to spend over $11 billion on Christmas presents this year, new research from the Australian Retailers Association (ARA) and Roy Morgan indicates. 

The research shows that a significant proportion of the spend is set to come from online sales, with an average of 48% of Christmas presents are likely to be purchased online. 

58% of people indicated that they will purchase more or significantly more items online than they did last year.

"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," ARA CEO Paul Zahra said. 

"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. 

The research also found that gift buyers are expected to spend an average of $726 each, with 35-49 year old's the most generous age group. 

Most Australians (79%) said that they’ll spend the same or more than they did last year.

The study found that consumers in NSW are the most generous and forecast to spend an average of $902 on their Christmas gifts, followed by Tasmanians at $813, Queenslanders $705, Victorians $652, South Australians $645 and West Australians $472.

Zahra added that Christmas is a critical trading period, especially following extended lockdowns this 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.

"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.

"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," he said. 

Roy Morgan CEO Michele Levine added that the survey shows consumer optimism. 

"This special ARA-Roy Morgan Snap SMS survey of over 3,000 Australians shows there is considerable optimism in the community looking forward to a Christmas retailing season that is set to see a record amount 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," she said. 

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