Business Hub

The Christmas consumer

Christmas shopping is steeped in consumer ritualism. It’s a deeply entrenched family custom - a rite of passage because that’s what our folks did. That’s what we have always done... year after year. It’s so easy to get swept up in the spirit of the festive season. That’s why budgeting when shopping during this time becomes increasingly important. According to CommBank*, while more than half (57%) of Australians set themselves a budget for the festive season, nearly one in five (19 per cent) don’t actually stick to it. A variety of factors affect shoppers’ Christmas budget, including: job security, the number of children they have and their ages, plus whether they’re hosting family and friends on Christmas day. The majority of Christmas spending goes on gifts and vacations, as well as the Boxing Day sales and entertaining loved ones. From a retail perspective, trading hours are extended to deal with greater consumer demand during the pre-Christmas period. It’s a great boost to the economy (more money in shop tills) and employment (extra shifts available, especially for casual workers). The way consumers shop at Christmas time has changed significantly over the past 20 years. Rather than running all over town battling car parks, crowds and queues, many are choosing online shopping as a more efficient way to shop this Christmas. Shopping from the comfort of home or the office, on smart devices such as tablets and mobile phones, is now an easy and convenient option. Peak retail industry body the Australian Retailers Association (ARA) reports that the proportion of Christmas sales spent online is increasing each year. Moreover, according to a survey conducted by the Australian National Retailers Association (ANRA) in 2014, almost one in five shoppers made online purchases leading into Christmas. You can be certain that number is significantly higher this year. While the majority of Aussies may still prefer to shop in bricks-and-mortar stores, online represents an important and ever-growing part of the retail mix.      *Source: Commbank Festive Spending study, November 2014