THE BIGGEST pre-Christmas shopping crowds are not expected in malls this weekend but behind screens, as Australia is forecast to host its biggest online shopping day yet.
eBay Australia has named this Sunday, December 7, as the busiest online shopping day in Australian history, predicting more than half a million items will be purchased on its site in just 24 hours, or six gifts every second.
The prediction comes as online payments provider eWay predicts Australia’s online spending will top $1.5 billion during the Christmas period this year, and the National Australia Bank found online spending was up almost 12 per cent in October.
eBay Australia communications manager Megan English said December 7 had all the hallmarks of Australia’s busiest online shopping day as it was close to Christmas but not so close that shipping times would prove a hurdle.
“We have an impressive analytics team at eBay and they’ve been crunching the numbers to come up with this prediction,” she said.
“Sundays are consistently our busiest day on the site and there is a psychological cut-off for online shopping as we approach Christmas Day.”
The company predicts a “record-breaking” 2.6 million people will visit eBay Australia on Sunday, and will purchase 510,000 items — 23 per cent more than last year’s tally.
Ms English said 16 per cent more shoppers would visit the site on a mobile device this year, and she predicted greater interest in local sellers.
“When there is a drop in the Aussie dollar, we tend to see a lot of interest in Australian sellers,” she said. “We predict this will be a strong Christmas period for local retailers.”
Payments provider eWay predicted Australians would spend more than $1.5 billion online during December, as it forecasted its 17,000 merchants to process more than $400 million in sales, up from $319 million last year.
Australian consumers had already spent more than $16.19 billion in online retail stores by the end of October, the National Australia Bank revealed earlier this week, showing 11.9 per cent growth over last year.
Online spending only represented 6.8 per cent of total retail spending, however.