Aussies spend billions over Christmas

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Australians spent an estimated $3.29 billion online this holiday retail period, up almost 28 per cent on last year, with shoppers leaving it later than ever to find the perfect gift, according to findings in the latest eWAY Online Retail Report.

The quarterly report, which analysed online shopping data from the sales period of 16 November to 7 January, found that online spend for the final quarter of 2015 was reported at $5.52 billion, up from $4.98 billion in the September quarter.

This was driven by a substantial surge in online spending on Monday 21 December, leaving just a few days for parcel delivery.

This trend is in line with pre-Christmas research conducted by eCommerce shipping platform, Temando, which found larger retailers were gearing up with last minute express shipping options.

 Other key take aways

-Christmas stockings were a little fuller this year, with Aussies spending an average of $167 per transaction, up from $159 over the same period in 2014.

 -For the second year running Boxing Day sales ticked along relatively slowly in the days following Christmas, with the big surge coming when most Aussies went back to work on 4 January, with spending up significantly on the first day and week back on last year.

-Electronics, travel agencies and tours, and household appliances were the top performing categories for December. Restaurants and Food Delivery was up significantly on last year, with Mens & Womens Clothing Stores and Wire Transfers (e.g. international exchange) also making significant gains.

-Australian retailers sent more goods to international buyers this year, with the value of deliveries to overseas postcodes up more than 60 per cent on 2014. The number of transactions was up a substantial 79 per cent.

While average purchase sizes have gone up by four per cent, this does not necessarily mean consumers are spending more, according to Matt Bullock, CEO, eWAY.

Rather, it is indicative that consumers are diverting a larger percentage of their Christmas budget to online channels.

Bullock maintains that this increasing affinity for e-commerce is facilitated by a significant improvement in shipping and logistics in Australia.  Next day delivery and better, often free return policies are also making shoppers more confident to purchase in this way.