Two-thirds of eBay’s top 3,000 sellers say they’re confident this Christmas will be their busiest yet, according new research, amid an upward trend in retail sales.
Quantium research reveals Australia’s top 3,000 eBay sellers are confident online sales will increase by 31% over Christmas, expecting Australians to spend $30 billion online.
In the lead-up to Christmas, 73% of the top sellers expect to increase their inventory line by an average of 19 products.
“Data shows that the online market is growing at an annual rate of 26%, suggesting it will double in the next three years,’ Quantium director Tony Davies says.
“Any retailer not paying attention to online by now is turning their back on the fastest-growing part of the market.”
Earlier this year, a Nielsen NetView report identified eBay as the most popular site for Australian shoppers, followed by Amazon, Woolworths, JB Hi-Fi and DealsDirect.
Steven Noble, of Forrester Research, says eBay has become a staple not only for consumers but for businesses, referring to it as a “significant component” of the economy.
Similarly, Nielsen Online analytics director Mark Higginson says eBay has “long been a category winner”.
“It empowers individual sellers and businesses to set up their own stores in ways that are attractive to customers, especially if you are a small business owner,” he says.
Meanwhile, the Australian Bureau of Statistics has revealed retail sales rose 0.4% in September, following gains of 0.6% in August and 0.8% in July.
Sales rose 1% in household goods retailing, 0.9% in cafés, restaurants and takeaway food services, 0.2% in food retailing, and 0.1% in clothing, footwear and personal accessory retailing.
On a state by state basis, retail sales rose 1.7% in the ACT, 1% in South Australia and 0.8% in Tasmania. In NSW, sales rose 0.6% while Queensland recorded a 0.5% increase.
WA lagged at 0.1% while sales in Victoria were relatively unchanged.
Margy Osmond, of the Australian National Retailers Association, says retailers are hopeful the latest interest rate cut will provide a further boost to sales in the lead-up to Christmas.
“I think you would see retailers across the country dancing in the aisles at the moment… This is going to encourage people to perhaps have a little bit of [a] splurge this Christmas,” she says.
“We certainly hope that after lots of good solid saving, and debt retirement over the last year or so, that everybody might feel a bit more relaxed about spending a little more this Christmas.”
But according to Westpac senior economist Matthew Hassan, the long-term picture is “still one of subdued spending growth” and conditions will remain challenging.
“With consumers showing growing concerns about job security and the weak housing market, unemployment trending up through Q3 and escalating turmoil in global financial markets, retail is likely to remain under intense pressure… even with the prospect of a cash and confidence boost from the RBA’s interest rate cut,” Hassan says.