Next week, the retail sector officially enters the three-month countdown to Christmas, and already many brands are busily planning their marketing, ordering their stock and preparing for what they hope will be a bumper festive season.
This year, there are also some new trends emerging, with American holidays like Black Friday and Cyber Monday set to make a greater impact, while customers will be expecting more from the bricks and mortar retail experience.
Here’s a quick preview of emerging themes over the coming months and the pre-Christmas trends every retailer should know.
Spending back in positive territory
This week the retail sector was delivered a welcome early Christmas gift, with Commonwealth Bank research indicating household spending on retail is likely to re-enter positive territory in September.
That’s good news for a sector plagued with months of weak figures after election uncertainty and rising household costs.
The CBA tips the upsurge in retail spending intentions will be partly driven by the government’s recent tax rebate and also by a stronger housing market.
Black Friday and Cyber Monday are set to be bigger
Black Friday and Cyber Monday might have started as American retail traditions but steadily they’re gaining ground in Australia, particularly with electronics retailers and big-name brands.
They explain the event has become increasingly popular in Australia over the last five years or so, “with major retailers like Harvey Norman, JB Hi-Fi, and Ted’s Cameras offering big bargains on a wide variety of products, with the sale usually starting before the actual date and extending well beyond Cyber Monday”.
Meanwhile, Australia Post last year reported year-on-year e-commerce growth of 28.7 per cent for the Black Friday period.
This year Black Friday officially takes place on November 29, with Cyber Monday following on December 2.
Christmas shopping will kick off in November
Last year the retail sector reported above average consumer spending in November, with the ABC explaining it appeared consumers had brought forward their Christmas shopping.
In fact, in November 2018 retail sales rose 0.4 per cent to $27.1 billion. That trend looks likely to continue again in 2019, with consumers taking advantage of sales like Black Friday to start fulfilling their Christmas wishlist.
Other than that, the major retail days of the festive season are likely to be Saturday, December 14; Tuesday, December 17; and Saturday, December 21 when most people will be shopping for family and friends in-store.
When it comes to expenditure, last year the Commonwealth Bank reported Australians would spend $10. 7 billion on Christmas, with 31 per cent of shoppers finishing the purchasing less than a week prior to the event.
Shoplifting will increase
With increased foot traffic comes the likelihood of increased shoplifting, making now the time that retailers should be turning their attention to loss prevention.
An estimated 30 per cent of all shoplifting in Australia occurs across the Christmas period with retailers raking in 30 per cent of their sales during this peak period but also 35 per cent of their losses.
Last year over a three-day period in December in Sydney, more than 100 people were arrested for the crime and charged with 120 offences.
More than $17,300 worth of stolen items were seized by police who issued the following warning:
“The busy period of Christmas with the influx of shoppers can often be seen as an opportunistic time for potential shoplifters to target retailers while staff members are busy with customers.”