The three most important online shopping events of the year are under starters orders. Alibaba’s Singles’ Day kicks off first on November 11th, followed by Black Friday and Cyber Monday on November 26th and 29th, respectively.

But as the annual cash splash gears up, there’s plenty for omnichannel retailers to look forward to. Australian online sales reached a record high of $4.3 billion in September, reports the Australian Bureau of Statistics. E-commerce revenues represented 15.3 per cent of total retailing over the month – a rise of 3.4 per cent by contrast to August and a 42.6 per cent increase compared to September 2020.

Whilst the record amount of online spending was driven by lockdowns in NSW, Victoria and the ACT, where people were limited in terms of their physical shopping plans, we expect online sales to remain at elevated levels moving forwards, says Paul Zahra, CEO of the Australian Retailers Association (ARA).

“The incredible demand for products online is adding to the stress our supply chains are under, so people need to consider shopping early for Christmas to ensure their products arrive on time”.

Sales in bricks-and-mortar stores fell 4.4 per cent during the September quarter, mainly due to the closure of physical stores in the two most populous states. But with the worst of the lockdowns now behind us, many businesses will be looking to make up for the substantial trading losses they’ve incurred in recent months and are looking forward to a positive Christmas, he added.

Queensland hasn’t suffered the extended lockdowns of the southern states and the ARA and Roy Morgan predict that the state’s pre-Christmas spending  will hit $12 billion – an increase of 12.3 per cent by contrast to the same period in 2019.

Food will account for the lion’s share of the spend at $5.158 billion, followed by household goods ($2.08 billion), other retailing, including beauty and personal care ($1.81 billion), hospitality ($1.574 billion), clothing, footwear and accessories ($836 million) and department stores ($634 million).

According to Fleur Brown, ARA chief industry affairs officer – “Consumer sentiment is upbeat and border restrictions are easing, which will open the state up to tourists from interstate, providing businesses with an additional boost.”

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