Australian retailers are approaching the Christmas trading period with a strong sense of optimism, according to Deloitte’s 2018 Retailers’ Christmas Survey.
Now in its 7th year, key survey findings showed 80% of retailers expected to see higher sales this Christmas compared to last year, with 41% predicting growth of 5% or more. Further, 56% are expecting to see some form of margin increase and 79% are expecting growth of 10% or more in online sales. Nearly two-thirds will be discounting to help drive sales, but only after December 25 and a majority believe Amazon won’t have any impact on their Christmas trading performance.
Deloitte Retail, Wholesale & Distribution Group leader, David White said broadly speaking retailers are optimistic. “The overall market has performed relatively well in 2018 and, in spite of competitive and economic challenges appear to be carrying this optimism forward into the Christmas trading period.”
White said retailers expect to increase both sales and profit margins compared to last year, pinning their hopes on two key areas, a strong product mix along with and an uptick in online sales on the back of investments made in omni-channel business models.
Discounting will remain an important Christmas sale strategy, but more importantly, retailers are looking to hold strong on pricing this side of Christmas, with lower pricing only on the agenda as part of Boxing Day sale strategies, he said.
“Retailer intentions on pricing auger well, but they will be highly dependent on customers being enticed by great products, convenience and customer service, whether in store or online. With shoppers choosing to look and buy later and later each Christmas, helped by continuing improvements in online offerings and faster and more reliable delivery services, the first trading week in December will be of intense interest, and likely to cause at least some jittery nerves,” White said.