Economy

A third of consumers plan to spend less this Christmas, survey shows

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Consumers will be more price conscious and demanding with their Christmas shopping this year, with a third of planning to spend less than they did last year, a new survey reveals. And many will use the internet to research and compare prices to help with

Consumers will be more price conscious and demanding with their Christmas shopping this year, with a third of planning to spend less than they did last year, a new survey reveals. And many will use the internet to research and compare prices to help with their shopping.

The survey, conducted by Deloitte and the Australian Retailers Association of 933 consumers, shows that while 37% of respondents plan to spend less than they did last year, the majority (63%) say they are going to purchase the same amount of gifts this year or more, but will be more careful with the type and price of the items they purchase.

“Despite an overly negative outlook on the economy at large, shoppers are still ready to open their wallets this Christmas, with over 55% planning to spend the same amount of money as last year on Christmas gifts and over 12% planning to spend more,” says ARA director, Richard Evans.

“Over one third of respondents said they were going to spend between $250 and $500 on Christmas presents, and another third plan to spend up to $1000 on gifts for friends and family.”

Evans says that retailers are optimistic about solid sales during the holiday season, although growth may not be as significant as last year’s Christmas trade, which was the strongest for a decade.

More consumers are also planning to buy after Christmas Day. Almost a fifth of respondents say they will purchase 10% to 40% of their presents at the post-Christmas sales.

Over half (58%) say that researching and comparing products are the most important reasons they will use the internet to help with Christmas shopping.

The survey found that:

  • More than half (56.8%) plan to start their shopping in December.
  • A quarter of consumers will start shopping in November.
  • Over a quarter leave it to the week before Christmas to shop.
  • Just over half (55.4%) say they are going to spend the same amount of money on Christmas gifts this year compared with 61% in 2007.
  • Half say they will buy their gifts from suburban shopping centres compared with 35.6% from the CBD.

Evans says that there are good buys around, with 43% of retailers offering generous pre-Christmas sales this year.

He also says that now is a great time to be buying. In March/April next year people will be paying down their credit card bills, and with the lower dollar there will be less choice in stores for goods selling at higher prices. “However we do expect interest rate reductions in November and December to kick in about March and April,” he says.

Evans says the companies that are really suffering are furniture stores. “Look at the likes of Harvey Norman,” he says. “They had a great year leading up to the Olympics.”

But it is not all doom and gloom. “My 82 year old mum plans to buy a plasma screen TV with her bonus,” he says.

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