Christmas spending tipped to top $32.6 billion

National sales are expected to skyrocket to over $32.6 billion this festive season, with the average family tipped to splash out $4,154 in the four weeks leading up to the holiday.

According to data released by the Australian National Retailers’ Association (ANRA), the four weeks before Christmas will be strong for the retail industry, with Christmas spending on track to constitute around 4% of Australia’s GDP.

The increased spending by consumers will translate to a 35.2% trading spike for the month of December, according to IBISWorld data.

ANRA CEO Anna McPhee said that online shopping would be particularly strong in the first week of the four-week Christmas trading period.

“Shoppers using the internet traditionally go online early to ensure gifts are delivered in time for wrapping and placing under the Christmas tree,” she said.

Around two fifths of online shopping in the first week of Christmas trading will be spent on international sites.

But, despite online shopping becoming increasingly common, McPhee said “bricks and mortar” stores still dominate the market, with ANRA’s data predicting roughly $5.3 billion of week one’s $6.71 billion will be spent in physical stores.

Looking more closely at predicted spending habits, data from IBISWorld revealed department stores will be the big winners in the Christmas retail race, with a predicted 94.1% spike in trading activity over the month of December.

IBISWorld analyst Stephen Gargano said department store shopping is an attractive option during the busy Christmas season.

“Department stores operate as a one-stop-shop, stocking a range of consumer goods,” he said.

“This holds them in good stead to benefit from an influx of time-poor consumers keen to purchase their Christmas gifts and holiday supplies in one location.”

The spike will be welcome news to the country’s department stores, who have had a difficult year, posting negative growth of -0.6% over the past 12 months.

A significant increase in trade is also predicted for footwear and accessories retailing (76.7%), clothing retailing (66.2%) and liquor retailing (59.4%).

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