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Tuesday, November 24, 2020

Aussies to splurge $35b before Xmas

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Instant cameras, motorised skateboards and electronic fitness products are all on the wishlist as Australian shoppers prepare to splurge more this Christmas.

About $35 billion is expected to be spent in the 30 days leading up to Christmas, with shoppers buoyed by low interest rates and a drop in unemployment levels.

Retail Council chief executive Anna McPhee said this year’s forecasts indicate the retail sector is in a slightly stronger position than last Christmas.

“The year-on-year growth is welcomed and it is going to be a stronger Christmas which is a positive sign for the economy,” Ms McPhee said.

She said the recent rise in consumer sentiment combined with low interest rates and improved official jobs numbers were all encouraging people to splash their cash this Christmas.

“The recent unemployment figures have given consumers longer term confidence to increase their spending at this time of the year,” Ms McPhee said.

“We have record low interest rates for some time and that helps the household budget.”

Retailers in NSW are expected to enjoy an $11 billion bonanza, with Victoria close behind on $8.7 billion, the Retail Council’s Christmas Spending Index shows.

She said online purchases were expected to make up about 16 per cent of sales during the Christmas period.

Homewares and electronics retailer Harvey Norman is tipping Instax instant cameras to be its big seller, bundling the gadget with Japanese Washi tape and props in a showbag-style package aimed at young women and girls.

“This is the hottest product in the world,” chief executive Katie Page said.

“It’s being led by young girls.”

Also on Harvey Norman’s hot list is a rose-gold accented laptop that Page advised Hewlett Packard to build.

“If you go into a shop now, you will see stainless steel, and you will see black and charcoal. All designed for men,” Ms Page said at the retailer’s annual general meeting on Tuesday.

“As soon as this went on, you had women going ‘Oh my God, I need this.’ You’ve got to understand that the female customer has got to have something a bit better than charcoal, stainless steel and black.”

Harvey Norman is also expecting motorised skateboards and fitness products to figure strongly, while Page said design-led smartwatches would continue to sell well this Christmas and next.

Earlier this month, The National Retail Association forecast Aussie shoppers would spend $44.5 billion in the lead-up to Christmas, up more than four per cent on last year.

It expects every state and territory to enjoy a lift in Christmas spending this year.

XMAS SHOPPERS PREPARE TO HIT THE SHOPS

* NSW: $11.1b

* Vic: $8.7b

* QLD: $7.2b

* WA: $4.1b

* SA: $2.3b

* TAS: $691m

* ACT: $623m

* NT: $383m

* National total: $35b

(Online Source: Retail Council’s spending forecasts for the 30 days to Christmas)

The Indian Telegraph Sydney Australia

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