The Australian Retailers Association (ARA) and Roy Morgan predict Australians will spend in excess of $51 billion over the pre-Christmas trading period from November 9 to December 25, 2018.
The ARA anticipates that online shopping will be a popular preference for consumers this Christmas.
It is estimated Aussie consumers will spend over $7.3 billion in the 'Other Retailing' category this festive season, representing a 2.7% jump compared to the previous year.
The ARA's executive director Russell Zimmerman said the collective research from its partners at Neto and Hitwise indicate a gravitational shift towards shoppers turning to online platforms to hunt for the perfect gifts.
“Christmas is fast-becoming the most opportune season for shoppers to purchase gifts online, with online platforms offering convenience and a range of delivery options in the 24-hour marketplace.
“Online shopping accounts for over $23 billion annually in Australia, and the ARA and NETO expect even more consumers to use online platforms to get in early and avoid the rush that occurs in the lead up to Christmas.”
While Boxing Day reigns supreme as the most favourable sales day over the holiday shopping season, newer sales days including Black Friday and Cyber Monday are on the incline, with recent data from Hitwise indicating a 20% year-on-year increase from the previous year.
The ARA attributes this to shoppers preparing for the upcoming festive season.
“This year, we will again see Black Friday and Cyber Monday kicking off the pre-Christmas sales and the ARA predicts these sales days will encourage retailers to prepare for the upcoming pre-Christmas scramble that occurs during the busy trading period.”
Neto's founder and CEO Ryan Murtagh said the company's latest State of E-Commerce Report cited substantial growth in online gifting this year with the average basket size increasing to $130, a 5% increase from the previous year.
“Over the last year, online retailing has experienced a 30% increase in sales compared to 2017, with fashion boasting the highest growth in sales with a 57% increase year-on-year.”
The report also highlighted alternative payment options have recorded a 122% year-on-year increase compared to 2017, with many merchants adopting buy-now, pay-later services including Afterpay and ZipPay.
Zimmerman said retailers who adopted these services will possess a significant advantage during the Christmas trading period this year.
“With a diverse range of viable payment options on offer from buy-now, pay-later services on the rise, merchants who offer these services to their consumers will reap the rewards of pre-Christmas sales.
“As the ARA already anticipate online retail sales to continue to increase immensely during this season, it seems likely that through buy-now, pay-later services will contribute to this increase throughout the Christmas season and into the New Year.”