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Christmas sales to mark the start of retail recovery, including record online spend

The National Retail Association has today declared that the 2020 Christmas period will mark the start of a retail recovery as shoppers indulge during the busy festive season.

Altogether the NRA Christmas predictions tip Australians to spend more than $50 billion, including a record online spend of over $5 billion.

The Christmas trade period – encompassing the second-half of November and all of December – is the busiest time of year on the retail calendar. The final six weeks of the year includes the lead-up to Christmas, bargain bonanzas such as Black Friday and Cyber Monday, and traditional sales events such as Boxing Day.

NRA CEO Dominique Lamb said that this year’s period will take on added significance due to the tumultuous year following the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Retail has experienced a roller-coaster year, with businesses across Australia forced to navigate lockdown restrictions due to COVID-19,” Ms Lamb said.

“Christmas is the most important period of the year for retail, but in 2020 it will take on added importance due to the current economic downturn. Many businesses desperately need a Christmas sales splurge to keep themselves afloat as we head into 2021.

“The NRA is forecasting retail sales for the entire Christmas period to surpass $50 billion. With people unable to travel overseas, the continuation of government assistance measures and a thirst from shoppers to get out of the house following lockdown periods, we’re confident that consumer spending will be solid.”

Ms Lamb also said that these Christmas predictions also show online retail is set for a record spend due to shifts in consumer behaviour combined with the growing popularity of events such as Cyber Monday.

“Consumer spending habits are definitely changing and the online trend has been accelerated by the COVID lockdowns. We’re also now seeing more people doing Christmas shopping earlier due to November sales events such as Black Friday and Cyber Monday.

“Christmas online sales are set to break the $5 billion barrier for the first time. The pandemic forced many retailers to expand their digital services and saw more shoppers embrace the convenience of online shopping.

“But many successful modern retailers are utilising both in-store and digital avenues to maximise revenue.

“There will still be plenty of action in traditional, physical stores with total retail spend forecast to surpass the $50 billion barrier. Consumers will again stampede shopping centres in the lead up to Christmas, and Boxing Day will remain another signature event on the industry calendar.”

Each state and territory is forecast to record an increased spend on 2019 figures, with a rise of 5 per cent nationwide.

States2019 Spend2020 Forecast Spend% Increase from 2019
NSW$15.9 Billion$16.7 Billion5%
VIC$13.2 Billion$13.8 Billion4%
QLD$10 Billion$10.6 Billion6%
SA$3.2 Billion$3.3 Billion4%
WA$5.2 Billion$5.5 Billion6%
TAS$1 Billion$1.05 Billion5%
NT$419 Million$431 Million3%
ACT$931 Million$978 Million5%
TOTAL$49.9 Billion$52.4 Billion5%

Online Sales2019 Spend2020 Forecast Spend% Increase from 2019
TOTAL$3.4 Billion$5.2 Billion53%

Christmas predictions retail sales forecast National Retail Association 2020
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