Australia’s Holiday Shoppers Changing the Retail Game 0

Optimism In the Face of Economic Crisis

Business owners remain optimistic towards the anticipated impact of seasonal shopping on corporate bottom lines across the country. Despite the dire global economy, one survey finds “69 percent of senior retail executives said they expect Christmas sales to be higher this year, while just 13 percent said they believe sales will be worse than 2011.” While the season finds itself in full-tilt, the verdict is still out as to whether or not 2012’s holiday season can make a dent in this year’s spending deficit. With the rest of the world attempting to clamber away from the looming fiscal cliff, Australia has, so far, kept its toes from the edge, but questions still arise as to whether or not this season, most commonly associated with record numbers of shoppers, will meet business owners where they most need it. Australia’s exports may not be primed for holiday spending, since the primary point of export is to China, but the market within the country is likely to have regenerated by the end of this month.

Online Sales vs. Brick-and-Mortar Stores

While online business has grown dramatically in recent years, the estimates for online shoppers are still relatively small. In the USA a survey by Verizon shows that of US consumers, “(87%) plan to avoid crowded stores and malls and plan to cybershop from the comfort and convenience of home,” compared to a survey of Australian business owners of which, 65% are anticipating only 2% of their Christmas sales to be attributed to online shopping while “roughly 73 percent of executives plan to focus on bricks-and-mortars stores strategies to boost multichannel profits.”People are now shopping from a wider range of locations. With access to online shopping, people can shop from the comfort of their own home, a seat on a transit bus, or even the busy surroundings of one of the trending serviced offices (http://www.regus.com.au/products/offices/serviced-offices.aspx) around the country. Marketing has changed, seemingly overnight to reflect a system based on more immediate gratification.

Social Media to Factor into Business

As the online market grows, social media rises to the top as one of the factors to deeply impact the entire form and function of business. If the rest of the world is any indicator, Australian business owners are on the verge of entering a much more electronically-run world. In anticipation of this shift to online spending, Australian business owners are going to need to start becoming more active in the world of social media. The online explosion of social media has been like a megaphone to the well-known value of “word of mouth” among a business’s client base. Now, “word of mouth” is traveling much further and being heard much louder than ever before. Every customer represents some thousands of people who will listen to their musings on Facebook, Twitter or their personal blog. Every customer is worth much more to companies and they are doing all they can to maintain a solid connection with the consumer base. As the nation turns its attention to the burgeoning market, the government has decided to take part in measuring the growth. The Australian Bureau of Statistics has been awarded $1.2 million for four years of research and data to be collected on the spending habits of Australians. All forms of spending will be tracked, according to sources. From domestic and international online shopping to the amounts spent by Aussies in actual store buildings. Assistant Treasurer, David Bradbury hopes to garner information to benefit the corporate as well as governmental understanding of market trends. The need for research and data in this area was made evident in recent years after the Productivity Commission discovered “that online shopping accounted for six per cent of total retail spending, but was likely to increase significantly.”