Christmas has arrived a few days early for retailers, with the National Retail Association (NRA) estimating that Australians will spend more than $20.5 billion in the final ten days before Christmas.
According to NRA CEO Dominique Lamb, retailers across the country are preparing for a busy few days as shoppers make last-minute purchases and stock up on fresh food for Christmas Day.
“The NRA is expecting the shopping frenzy to really ramp up as we kick off the 10-day Christmas countdown,” Ms Lamb said.
“According to our forecasts, Aussie’s are set to splurge $20.5 billion in the final 10 days as shoppers finalise purchases and bag fresh food for their Christmas Day celebrations.
“Consumer sentiment has reached an 11-year high, and we expect to see an 8 per cent increase on spending for the holidays.”
Despite a growing trend of customers finishing their Christmas shopping earlier than in previous years, the final ten days of the year remain a busy time for retailers around the country.
“Delivery delays mean that fewer people will risk making online purchases over the coming days and head in-store to get their hands on last-minute purchases,” Ms Lamb continued.
“This is particularly beneficial to retailers in CBD locations, who have had to battle steep drops in foot traffic right throughout the pandemic.”
Vaccine mandate to go
More good news is on the way, as Victoria announced major changes to its COVID-19 rules, including mandatory vaccinations for residents.
The mandatory vaccine requirement will be lifted for all retail customers, with the exception of hair and beauty services, as well as in real estate, places of worship, weddings, and funerals.
“Moreover, Queensland has officially opened its borders, and Tasmania looks set to follow suit. “In the coming weeks, we anticipate a major boost for retailers in tourist hotspots,” Ms Lamb said.
Restaurants, cafes, bars, and pubs are still only open to fully vaccinated guests and staff. Masks are necessary for all workers.
Tips for retailers
Ms Lamb also gave retailers some tips on how to get around during this busy time.
With extended business hours in effect across much of the country, many shoppers may prefer to make their Christmas shopping earlier in the day or later in the evening to avoid the crowds.
She urged retailers to take advantage of the more flexible opening and closing schedules, as well as the longer operating hours.
“Take the time to research the Christmas trading hours at your local shopping centre as extended hours are in place across many locations throughout the country,” Ms Lamb said.
“If convenient, consider using public transport – or take advantage of extended trading hours by shopping early or late to avoid peak times in the car park.
“Before you leave for the shops, try and identify what items you’d like to purchase and from which store. With almost all retailers having online sites you can see what items they have on offer and compare prices across businesses.
“And finally, please remember to be patient and polite towards retail staff. It is the busiest time of year for retailers, with many working at capacity, so please keep the Christmas spirit in mind and treat them with patience.”
The NRA has forecast Australians to spend a total of $60 billion throughout the Christmas trade period, which encompasses half of November and all of December.