Retailers across the country are being urged to get ready for the upcoming Christmas rush, as nearly two-thirds of Australian shoppers plan to purchase gifts months before the holidays.

Although Australians spent more than $65 billion in-store and online on Christmas shopping in 2021, rising inflation and interest rates this year continue to pinch, leaving most shoppers to spend less or shop earlier for lower prices.

As per a survey by CouriersPlease, one in five shoppers have already secured their Christmas gifts, while a third (34 per cent) will have completed their purchases by the end of September to ensure they can buy their gifts at a good price.

Rising prices seem to be impacting most shoppers (54 per cent) who plan to spend less on Christmas gifts this year. A quarter of shoppers said they will be giving fewer gifts.

NSW residents led the states in shopping earlier for Christmas gifts (65 per cent) to secure their desired products and avoid disappointment, followed by Victoria (63 per cent), South Australia (62 per cent) and Queensland (57 per cent).

Younger shoppers (under 50s) were more likely to get their shopping done earlier, compared to older demographics.

“Our research shows Christmas will be coming early for retailers, with a majority of Aussies shopping earlier than they did last year,” said Jessica Ip, Chief Transformation Officer at CouriersPlease. “I strongly encourage retailers to prepare for an influx of pre-Christmas shoppers earlier this year by ensuring they maintain healthy stock levels.

“It is also important to ensure their eCommerce stores are well-equipped to handle increased customer volumes, with a strong plan in place to avoid or resolve glitches or the potential for websites to crash quickly and early.”

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Additionally, retailers are urged to plan ahead for additional staff even as the country battles massive labour shortages in most industries. Job vacancies have risen 14 per cent while unemployment in Australia is currently at its lowest levels since 1974.

“While the issue will improve as the Federal Government plans to increase immigration, it will be challenging in the short term for supply chain-reliant businesses – including the manufacturing, transport, postal and warehouse industries, where job vacancy rates have more than doubled in the first half of this year in,” Ms Ip added.

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