Aussies set to spend over $11 billion on Christmas gifts

Christmas is looking good for retailers this year, with Australians set to spend more than $11 billion on gifts, with a significant portion coming from online sales.

With 79 per cent saying they will spend the same or more than last year, the most popular gifts include toys, jigsaws and board games followed by vouchers and gifts cards, according to Roy Morgan and Australian Retailers Association (ARA) research.

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.”

Consumers in NSW are 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.

“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.”

Despite the current lockdowns of over half of the Australian population, consumers are looking forward optimistically to a bumper Christmas retailing season, adds Roy Morgan CEO, Michele Levine.

“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,” she says.

Indeed, Australians are turning to the internet in a big way―an average of 48 per cent of Christmas presents are likely to be purchased online, with 58 per cent of people saying they’ll purchase more or significantly more items online than they did last year.

“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.”