Consumers prepared to wait until post-Christmas sales

By Martin Vedris

SYDNEY: A major survey of consumers across Australia revealed that a fifth of respondents would wait until after Christmas to make the bulk of their purchases to save money on the post-Christmas sales.

The news offers a chance to retailers to persuade consumers that pre-Christmas is the best time to make purchases to avoid missing out on particular products that may not be on sale after Christmas. There is also the possibility of post-Christmas prices increases following the depreciation of the Australian dollar, with current prices representing value for money.

According to the national Deloitte/Australian Retailers Association (ARA) 2008 Christmas retail survey, 63 per cent respondents said they were going to purchase the same amount of gifts this year, but will be more careful with the type and price of the items they purchase.

Also, the majority of consumers interviewed, 62.1 per cent, believed that Australia is currently in a recession, whereas 28.4 per cent believe the economy is stable.

The survey also reported that of the consumers who were considering buying electronics which included gaming, 14.7 per cent planned to purchase an MP3 Player/IPod. More than a quarter (27.1 per cent) were purchases of home electronic appliances and other electronics. However, the Nintendo Wii was also a popular choice with 13.4 per cent, followed by other computer games (12.9 per cent) being popular gifts for Christmas 2008.

In terms of the amount they expected to spend, 55.4 per cent said they were going to spend the same amount of money on Christmas gifts this year, compared to 61 per cent in 2007. A third (32.3 per cent) said they were going to spend less money on Christmas gifts in 2008, which is significantly higher than the 2007 survey (17.5 per cent). Only 12.3 per cent were going to spend more money on Christmas gifts this year, whereas in 2007 it was 21.5 per cent.

“Consumers are likely to be savvier this year, and will be doing research on the internet to make sure they get the best value for money,” said Deloitte director and retail expert, Katrina Doney.

“They will take note of retailers’ price promotions, quality of products and complimentary gifts when making purchasing decisions this Christmas. They will be making sure they get value for money in the current economic climate”.

December is shaping up to be the preferred month for Christmas shoppers, with 56.8 per cent of respondents planning to start their Christmas shopping in December.

ARA executive director Richard Evans said that retailers could take advantage of the situation by targeting their offers.

“Savvy consumers who plan to wait for the post-Christmas sales should find an excuse to get their shopping done early, with many retailers offering generous pre-Christmas sales this year,” said ARA executive director Richard Evans.

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