Australians will spend more than $50 billion across the second half of November and all of December, with record online spend of over $5 billion, according to forecasts released by the National Retail Association (NRA).

This encompasses major sales events including Black Friday, Cyber Monday and Boxing Day and represents a 5% rise nationwide when compared to 2019 figures.

NRA CEO Dominique Lamb said Christmas is the most important period of the year for retail, but in 2020 it will take on added importance due to the current economic downturn.

“Many businesses desperately need a Christmas sales splurge to keep themselves afloat as we head into 2021,” she said.

“The NRA is forecasting retail sales for the entire Christmas period to surpass $50 billion. With people unable to travel overseas, the continuation of government assistance measures and a thirst from shoppers to get out of the house following lockdown periods, we’re confident that consumer spending will be solid.”

Queensland and Western Australia are projected to record the largest spending increase of 6%, followed by New South Wales, Tasmania, and the ACT (5%), then Victoria and South Australia (4%) with the Northern Territory trailing on 3% growth.

Online retail is set for record spend of $5.2 billion – an increase of 53% from 2019 – due to shifts in consumer behaviour combined with the growing popularity of events such as Cyber Monday.

“Consumer spending habits are definitely changing, and the online trend has been accelerated by the COVID lockdowns. We’re also now seeing more people doing Christmas shopping earlier due to November sales events such as Black Friday and Cyber Monday,” Lamb said.