BUSINESSES across the region have let out a joint sigh of relief, bidding farewell to the busy sales season as the quiet time January clean up commences.
The lead up to Christmas has become quite drawn out over recent years, with October and November reporting increasingly more sales, especially online. According to data collected from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS), retail sales rose by 1.2 percent in November 2018, showcasing overall gains for the third month in a row.
Online shopping continued to contribute to an increasing share of overall sales, with 5.5 percent of total retail turnover in November attributed to digital purchases. This figure is the highest percentage attributable to digital since the ABS began tracking online sales.
This trend echoes last year’s figures, where online sales increased by 22.3 percent between October and November 2017 and by 6 percent between November and December 2017. These figures are clearly indicative of consumers’ earlier buying habits; cleverly ensuring gifts get delivered before Christmas.
Increases in earlier overall shopping was further emphasised by the rising popularity of international online sales events like Black Friday, Cyber Monday and Click Frenzy. These events appear to be generally more successful in Melbourne and metro stores, however several retailers across the region have embraced these enormous digital events and added them to their sales calendars.
Due to these changes, many retailers noticed a dip in overall sales throughout the month of December; with a few of the businesses we surveyed reporting a somewhat slower Christmas season. However some shops, particularly department stores, reported frenetic spending in the days leading up to Christmas, likely emphasised by the weekend falling so close to Christmas Day.
Boxing Day sales were again a huge success across the region. All retailers we surveyed reporting that everything culminated to that day, as it typically does.