Australian consumers are expected to spend $686 on average for Christmas with grocery costs, disposable income and utility costs influencing spend, according to the Accenture 2019 Retail Research.

The average spend will be highest in the ACT at $816, closely followed by NSW at $769 with the lowest average spend in the NT at $457. In all states, except for the ACT and SA, more than two-thirds of the budget will be spent in-store.

The survey of 1,000 Australian consumers found that 34% will complete their shopping online with two-thirds of shoppers researching Amazon before looking or buying anywhere else.

Over one-quarter of shoppers (29%) expect fast and free delivery when shopping online but if rewarded by bonus loyalty points, discount voucher or free gift with purchase, they would be enticed to choose in-store pick up over delivery.

Gift cards for stores or restaurants are tipped to be the gift of choice for around half (56%) of shoppers this year, followed by clothing or footwear (48%), toys (42%) and experiential gifts such as cooking classes and concerts (20%).

Accenture Australia and New Zealand product lead, Glenn Heppell said despite the growing trend toward online shopping, bricks and mortar retail remains a critical channel for shoppers especially over the holiday season.

“With two-thirds of consumers planning to spend in-store, retailers need to carefully plan their strategy for superior customer service as well as labour, assortment and allocation of inventory,” he said.

“From the research, it is evident that promotional offers are a reliable way to entice customers, however retailers need to ensure they are managing these incentives carefully to guarantee they aren’t leaving a gap in their own profits.

“By using data-driven approaches to understand profitability, this will enable clearer visibility of inventory and establish an understanding of the intersection between products and services while staying competitive.”