Online Sales

Online retail a priority for buying Christmas gifts, but some still dash into the servo

Melinda Oliver /

Online retail for Christmas gifts is becoming the norm for shoppers, with 65% planning to buy a gift via local websites this year, new research shows.

A survey of more than 1000 shoppers conducted by financial services group Aussie found that 47.7% of shoppers plan to buy a gift from overseas retailers.

However 4.4% confessed they stop at a service station on Christmas Day to buy a last-minute gift, while 24.3% do their shopping at a local shopping centre on Christmas Eve.

Aussie chief executive Ian Corfield said that local and online retailers are making a “real dent” in Australian’s gift spending habits.

One quarter of shoppers plan to spend between $250 to $499 on gifts, while almost 19% intend to spend between $1000 and $1999.

Just over 15% responded that they will spend between $750 to $999 on spoiling friends and family.

The remaining 5.7% intend to spend under $249 in total on gifts.

Cash looks set to be the number one method of payment for gifts, at 67.6%, followed by credit cards at 54.3% and debit cards at 48.8%.

PayPal and other online purchasing tools will get a solid workout, 32.4% of respondents intending to use them.

“It looks like Australians will be racking up many millions of dollars in credit card fees again this Christmas,” Corfield said.

The survey also found that 70% of shoppers do their shopping at a steady pace leading up to Christmas, while 60% dedicated a full day to get it done before December 25.

Handmade gifts still got a look-in, with just over a 25% intending to give things they had created themselves. And 8.3% said they will re-gift last year’s presents.

The results come as Australian Christmas shoppers are forecast to spend $7.07 billion this week, up $490 million from last week, in the second-biggest shopping week of the year, according to the Australian National Retailers Association Christmas Retail Index.

This is part of a $42.1 billion expected spend on Christmas from November 14 until Christmas Eve.

ANRA chief executive officer Margy Osmond said the next two weeks will see the bulk of Christmas shopping occur.

“We’ve reached the serious end of the shopping calendar and Australian shoppers are expected to spend almost $16 billion over the next fortnight in what will be the two biggest shopping weeks of the entire year,” she said.

“Bricks-and-mortar stores will experience a sizeable increase in sales at the till, with spending expected to hit $5.5 billion – an increase of 32% since last week.

“Domestic online retailers will have their biggest week of the year where sales will reach $1.55 billion – up 23% on last week’s figure.

“Overseas online purchases will begin to peter off as the delivery deadline closes in and shoppers look for other alternatives to ensure they’ve crossed everyone off the Christmas shopping list.

Ormond said that shoppers in NSW will make the biggest contribution to sales, spending about $2.15 billion, while in Queensland they will spend $1.49 billion.

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