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Aussies to spend $11 billion this Christmas – almost half online

Retailers have 11 billion reasons to look forward to this Christmas period, according to the Australian Retailers Association.

Aussies are expected to spend an average of $726 each, with most (79 per cent) preparing to spend the same or more than they did last year, according to joint research by the ARA and Roy Morgan.

This is compared to last year’s expectations, which saw Aussies wanting to spend around $500 each.

Prior year’s expectations by the NRA landed closer to $50 million, though the ARA’s survey could be impacted by the lower levels of stimulus and Delta’s impact on the economy, as well as a narrower survey base.

And, as the country pushes through an uncertain few months to a potential reopening of physical retail, online is expected to play a bigger role than in prior years – with almost half of all spend likely to come through e-commerce.

“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,” said ARA chief executive Paul Zahra.

“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.

“We might be in September, but we’re already seeing Christmas levels of demand with current online purchases.”

Wesfarmers chief executive Rob Scott said the business was optimistic about the year head, according to the AFR, but that he is wary of the long-term impact on consumer and business confidence from elongated lockdowns.

“There have been a lot of people stood down, so lots of people are out of work and that does have a very negative effect on the economy,” Scott said.

“The current levels of stimulus are a lot lower than last year, so we should be quite cautious and concerned about the longer-term economic impacts if lockdowns were to continue.”

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