Christmas retail outlook is strong: report

Australian retailers are looking forward to strong sales through the Christmas and holiday period, according to reports from the Australian Retailers Association (ARA) and Deloitte.

“We know that shoppers are happy to be back, getting in and out of stores a lot quicker but spending more in-store,” said ARA CEO Paul Zahra.

The ARA/Roy Morgan pre-Christmas retail sales forecasts reflect COVID-19-influenced changes in spending patterns. Government stimulus measures, such as JobKeeper and JobSeeker, as well as containment actions, such as lockdowns and border closures, have driven the changes.

ARA/Roy Morgan: Sector-by-sector progress

Overall, 2020’s Christmas spending is forecast to show 2.6% year-on-year growth. This growth is a significant achievement in a year so disrupted by the global pandemic and shows the efficacy of State and Federal Government economic support.

The ARA/Roy Morgan report shows food (10%), household goods (9.6%) and ‘other retailing’ (6.6%) lead the way. Hospitality (-18.7%) clothing, footwear and accessories (-12.2%), and department stores (-2%) are all predicting declines.

The strongest growth is expected in Western Australia (14.2%), Australian Capital Territory (12.7%) and South Australia (11.8%). In the middle of the pack are Tasmania (10.5%), Northern Territory (10%) and Queensland (9.3%). New South Wales (-0.7%) and Victoria (-3.3%) show that they’ve borne the brunt of the pandemic with the country’s only negative growth expectations.

Deloitte: Polarisation and optimism

The Deloitte Retailers’ Christmas Survey 2020 shows that for the first time, more respondents expected more than 5% sales growth or decline than any other category (2–5% growth, 0–2% growth, no change, 0–2% decline, 2–5% decline).

“This polarisation of the market means that there is not just one narrative around COVID-19 but many … it doesn’t look like this polarisation will end any time soon, with retailers thinking of new ways to connect with customers and entice them to spend,” according to the report.

One of the ‘new ways’ to connect with customers isn’t that new – but online retailing has been booming in 2020. The proportion of retailers expecting online sales to account for more than 10% of total sales has jumped from 30% in 2019 to 44% in 2020.

And with 29% of consumers concerned about shopping in-store, all retailers must support their brick-and-mortar operations with robust online services.

Technology is the key to growth

These online services include online catalogues and shopping, click-to-collect, delivery tracking, painless refund and warranty services, and personalised shopping and service recommendations.
The foundation for any strong online sales offering is a robust digital back end. A customer relationship management (CRM) system is the starting point. Look for a solution that integrates with sales, real-time inventory and logistics providers.

At Eagle360, we use and recommend Microsoft Dynamics 365. We believe it’s the best all-around solution for any business that wants to run smoother and serve its customers better. We’ve created custom connectors and integrations for key e-commerce solutions like Shopify and offer mobile warehouse management, EDI and Smart freight integrations, business intelligence solutions and more.

“I remember reading Business at the Speed of Thought back in the 2000s,” says Eagle360 CEO Claudius Sithole.

“It’s a book by Bill Gates in which he describes the future of business and consumers. He describes how business would be conducted from anywhere in the world and information being available in the pocket.

“He was describing what is today the smartphone. Imagine the changes that have taken place in the past 20 years. The Coronavirus pandemic has accelerated the rate at which technology is adopted and consumer expectations.

“For most businesses post-pandemic, three things will be critical for survival:

  • Knowledge of your Customer and trends
  • A robust and efficient supply chain
  • A business system which can be scalable and integrates easily into the business processes with constant feedback on consumer behaviours and product adoption

“My take is that any business that intends on being relevant MUST invest in a solution that will enhance their presence online and streamline the supply chain.

“Microsoft Dynamics 365 is the best tool for all businesses looking to the future.”

Get in touch with us today, because the best gift you can give your customers is fast, efficient service.

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