Aussies target savings in Christmas shopping

Rising interest rates have forced shoppers to be more conservative in their Christmas spending this year, a business analyst has said.

IBISWorld has predicted that there will be a greater shift towards discount outlets this Christmas as customers remain nervous about overspending during the festive season.

Stores such as Target, Big W and K-Mart are expected to make up close to 70 per cent of sales while mid to high end stores such as David Jones and Myer will account for just over 30 per cent, IBISWorld said.

The group added that expensive household goods including furniture, small appliances and home entertainment items would perform the worst this year, with total sales revenue increasing by only 1.4 per cent from 2008.

"In the past few years electronic gifts have been a growing gift category, and while 2009 will see them certainly remain a popular choice, presents are more likely to be in the realm of a new computer game or video game console than a plasma flat-screen TV or surround sound system," said Robert Bryant, IBISWorld general manager.

Such frugal customer habits will encourage anyone who has decided to compare savings accounts or debit and credit cards. This week CommSec economist Savanth Sebastian told the Australian Associated Press that debt fears mean that shoppers are reluctant to use credit cards for Christmas shopping, preferring instead to pay with debit cards or cash.

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