Retailers need a big reindeer jump this holiday sale season.
And they are counting on consumers stepping out of the bubble this Christmas to spend in store and from home.
Deloitte’s ninth annual Retailers’ Christmas Survey 2020 shows signs of optimism with the amount of retailers expecting more than 5% growth this year nearly doubling since last year.
But others believe their takings will fall sharply.
Key survey findings:
- 74% of retailers say Jobkeeper has helped them avoid redundancies during the pandemic
- Strong polarisation in growth expectations: 39% of retailers expect Christmas sales to exceed 2019 by more than 5%; and 24% expect them to decline by more than 5%
- 71% expect online sales during Christmas to exceed the same period last year
- The proportion of respondents expecting more than 10% of their total sales to be online this Christmas is 44%, the highest in the history of the survey.
The survey shows a two-speed retail highway, with some in the fast lane and others stuck in first gear.
More respondents expect either plus or minus 5% Christmas sales growth compared to last year than all other growth or decline categories.
Nearly 40% of retailers expect Christmas sales to exceed 2019 by more than 5%.
But almost a quarter expect sales to fall by more than 5%.
In 2019, 21% of retailers expected 5% or more growth, while none expected a 5% or more decline.
“This year’s Retailers’ Christmas Survey reflects the uneven impact of the pandemic on Australian retailers,” says David White, national leader of Deloitte’s Retail, Wholesale & Distribution Group.
“Some have benefited from border closures and consumers spending more time at home, whereas others in the services, apparel and catered food market have borne the brunt of the downturn.
“The polarisation of the market means that there is not just one narrative around COVID-19 but many.”
Digital sales will be critical this year.
“One certainty this holiday season is that digital channels will be critical to success,” says White.
“Some retailers may have been caught flat footed at the beginning of the pandemic, but with stores closed, they needed to move quickly.
“Those who invested in building digital capabilities were able to continue to trade throughout the initial lockdown period of March to May and during the return to Victorian lockdowns in July.”
The proportion of retailers expecting more than 10% of their total sales to be online this Christmas is 44% this year, the highest in the history of our survey.
71% expect online sales during Christmas to exceed last year, and more than half expect an increase in the four weeks to come compared to the past four weeks.
Many retailers are already looking to November events such as Black Friday and Cyber Monday to drive online sales ahead of Christmas.
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