Model Chelsea Cunningham at Chermside Shopping Centre.
Model Chelsea Cunningham at Chermside Shopping Centre.

Record shopping splurge for Christmas

Retailers are predicting their strongest Christmas period ever, with customers expected to spend more than $50 billion during the festive season.

Online sales have been forecast to surge, with four out of five retailers expecting a stronger Christmas trading period than last year, according to retailer survey released by Deloitte on Thursday.

National leader of Deloitte's retail, wholesale and distribution group David White said the findings showed retailers were broadly optimistic heading into the crucial spending time.

"The overall market has performed relatively well in 2018 and, in spite of competitive and economic challenges, they appear to be carrying this optimism forward into the Christmas trading period," he said.

"Discounting will remain an important Christmas sale strategy, with more than 60 per cent of retailers planning to discount, and a further 21 per cent still to make a call on this front.

"Importantly, they are looking to hold strong on pricing this side of Christmas, with lower pricing only on the agenda as part of Boxing Day sale strategies."

The National Retail Association has predicted Queenslanders to spend $9.6 billion during the trade period - which includes the second half of November, and all of December - this year, up from $9.24 billion in 2017.

Mr White said retailers were banking on an uptick in online sales to drive spending growth, with more retailers investing in omni-channel services to cater to changing consumer habits.

"2017 saw a significant increase in retailers strategically investing in their digital capabilities," White said.

"This year, it appears they are looking to reap some reward from these investments, and online is set to be a key sector battlefield this Christmas."

Most major retailers have begun their festive season trading blitz, with major department stores David Jones and Myer having released their Christmas gifting catalogues to customers.

Shopping events including this week's Click Frenzy and next week's Black Friday, where a large number of retailers offer online discounts, were also forecast to give retailers a sales boost in the peak time.

National Retail Association chief executive Dominique Lamb said one of the key trends customers could expect to see was personalisation of goods and services, with many retailers using data and analytical tool to capitalise on the busy time of year.

"Shoppers are now placing a far higher premium on experiential shopping than simply the physical items they purchase," she said.

"A strong sales performance during the festive season can provide a generous windfall that can also help smaller businesses navigate quieter periods of the year."