Santa shops online this Christmas

Don Arnold/Getty Images

Most of Australia’s retailers expect sales this Christmas to be better than last year, according to the latest Deloitte Retailers’ Christmas Survey.

But the rise will be modest at best. Some (18%) expect sales growth of more than 5% and a third expect 2% to 5% this Christmas.

Among retailers, 59% anticipate discounting products at Christmas and 27% say they will do this from early December.

The Deloitte outlook fits with official ABS numbers which show retail sales up 4.5% on a year ago.

Much more of the sales activity this Christmas will be online.

Four years ago, almost two-thirds of retailers expected online sales to be 2% or less of their total Christmas takings.

Now nearly half of retailers expect online sales to make up 6% or more of the Christmas total.

David White of Deloitte’s says Australian retailers are starting to invest in online as a response to an ever more demanding consumer.

“The key for retailers is to understand how customers are using digital devices, such as smartphones, tablets and laptops, to make decisions and shop,” says White.

“Far from being digital dinosaurs, Australian consumers are actually highly connected when it comes to the use of digital whether it is for researching a product, comparing prices and checking availability or purchasing with click and collect.”

The Deloitte Retailers’ Christmas Survey 2015, Wrapping up the festive season, is based on a survey of 55 senior executives of leading retailers. The research took place during September and October.

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