Computers, appliances, games, toys, clothing and cosmetics are among the most popular purchases consumers were on track to snap up over the Black Friday and Cyber Monday weekend as they shop early for Christmas, says Paul Zahra, CEO of the Australian Retailers Association (ARA).

In another positive sign of consumer confidence, Australian retail sales increased 5.2 per cent in October, reports the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS), compared to the same month in 2020. Victoria led the way with a 10.2 per cent increase in sales for the month, followed by WA at 6.4 per cent, Queensland at 5.9 per cent, the ACT at 2.9 per cent and NSW at 2.4 per cent.

Clothing, fashion and personal accessories  resurged strongly in October,  but department stores were down 3.3 per cent by contrast to the same month last year, says the ABS.

The easing of Covid restrictions has also been a shot in the arm for in-store sales, says Emarsys. The leading omnichannel consumer engagement platform surveyed 1500 people in Australia and New Zealand. Fifty five per cent of respondents said they preferred to shop in-store, 31 per cent preferred to shop online and in-store and only 10 per cent said they liked to shop solely online.

Adam Ioakim, Emarsys APAC managing director, said that retailers should not underestimate the value of a premium in-store experience as consumers revealed they liked to try things on (49%), preferred to touch products up close (48.5%) and loved the feeling of being in a physical store (30%).

Major online turnoffs highlighted in the survey included – failure of free returns (50%), items being unavailable at checkout (41%), inaccurate product images (39%) and Spam communications (31%).

The same trend has emerged in the UK in the prestige beauty category, reports the NPD Group. Prestige beauty sales in bricks-and-mortar stores jumped 9 per cent in the three month period ending October 31st, with the premium fragrance sector growing 14 per cent.

The result demonstrates the continued importance of beauty consultants, and there are other benefits including no delivery costs, you can touch, feel and smell products while also embracing the social aspect of retail therapy, noted Emma Fishwick, account manager, NPD UK Beauty.

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