This year Australians will spend an average $686 each on Christmas, with more than half of it ($351) going towards groceries, according to the results of Accenture’s 2019 Retail Research.
At the same time, only a fifth (23 per cent) of shoppers are optimistic about their financial situation coming into the Christmas season, with grocery costs (35 per cent), disposable income (31 per cent) and utility costs (25 per cent) being the main factors influencing Christmas spend, according to respondents.
The Accenture Research, which surveyed 1,000 Australian respondents, also revealed that one-third (34 per cent) of Australians will complete their shopping online, with seven in 10 shoppers (66 per cent) researching Amazon before looking or buying anywhere else.
Over a quarter of shoppers (29 per cent) expect fast and free delivery when shopping online however, they would be enticed to choose in-store pick-up over delivery if rewarded by bonus loyalty points (61 per cent), a discount voucher to be used in-store on day of pick up (51 per cent), or a free gift with purchase upon collection (50 per cent).
Consumers trading up for Christmas groceries
Many consumers are opting to trade-up this holiday season, with 26 per cent of shoppers indicating they will do their food shop at a high-end retailer and over a third (35 per cent) planning to buy premium brands instead of private label.
The survey also found online grocery shopping is not common during the festive season with only one in ten consumers always or often shopping for groceries online. However, respondents said more competitive prices (45 per cent) and better offers and deals (40 per cent) would entice them to shift their grocery spend online.
The grocery store continues to be important to shoppers as two-thirds (67 per cent) would prefer to hand pick all fresh food items. Being able to see, feel and smell the physical product (48 per cent) and the in-store shopping experience (48 per cent) are the primary reasons why shoppers still opt for bricks and mortar grocery shopping.
What are we getting for Christmas?
Gift cards for stores or restaurants will be the present of choice for around half (56 per cent) of shoppers this year, with clothing/footwear (48 per cent) and toys (42 per cent) the next most popular gifts. Nearly a quarter of respondents (20 per cent) plan on spending more on experiential gifts such as cooking classes and concerts in 2019 compared to last year.
When it comes to gift ideas, 55 per cent of shoppers are mainly browsing in-store for inspiration while, 42 per cent are relying on word of mouth recommendations. For Christmas food ideas, Australian consumers are either browsing in-store (70 per cent) or referencing retail catalogues (58 per cent).
Responsible retailing a growing trend
Almost half of those surveyed (44 per cent) say they are more likely to do their holiday shopping with a more environmentally conscious retailer, and roughly the same amount (43 per cent) of consumers plan to make an impact with their money by doing business with retailers that reflect their values. In conjunction, 58 per cent of consumers believe retailers are making positive strides towards being more environmentally conscious with their product and service offerings.
Glenn Heppell, products lead for Accenture Australia and New Zealand commented: “Despite the growing trend toward online shopping, and the need to provide consumers with a strong online proposition, bricks and mortar retail remains a critical channel for shoppers in Australia, especially over the holiday season. With two thirds of consumers planning to spend-instore, retailers need to carefully plan their strategy for superior customer service as well as labour, assortment and allocation of inventory to ensure they are winning the attention of customers at this busy time of year.
“There is a growing trend toward consumers spending their money on brands that reflect their values and who demonstrate they are taking positive steps to improve sustainability through their business practices. As consumers become more environmentally and socially aware of the impact retailing has on the environment, retailers need to design their products and business around responsible initiatives.