Australians are set for a record Boxing Day shopping splurge but more people than usual will be hunting a bargain online.
The National Retail Association has forecast a $2.75 billion spend in stores, up five percent on last year, with $930 million in digital sales estimated.
NRA chief executive Dominique Lamb said Australians unable to travel overseas had been spending more money at home.
“It is much needed … for our retailers have had many difficult months,” Lamb said in a statement.
“(Boxing Day) remains a signature event on the Australian shopping calendar.”
Clothes and kitchen items top the wishlist for Australians on Boxing Day, according to consumer group CHOICE.
A survey from online payment service PayPal has revealed people plan to do more than half their Boxing Day shopping on the internet.
Almost one third of the 1000 people polled were concerned the health risks of shopping in-store during the coronavirus pandemic were too high.
“Boxing Day sales are traditionally synonymous with long queues and bustling crowds at shopping centres,” PayPal Australia consumer expert Danielle Grant said.
“However, since COVID-19 we have seen record numbers of consumers shopping online, including many for the first time.”
The rise in online Boxing Day shopping is being led by younger generations.
Gen Z (69 percent) and Gen Y (66 percent) are planning to shop online at a higher rate, compared with older Australians (30 percent).
Most baby boomers (59 percent) and Australians 68 years and over (70 percent) still plan to head into stores.
The union representing retail workers has urged shoppers to wear a mask when visiting bricks-and-mortar outlets.
The Shop, Distributive and Allied Employees’ Association said shoppers should also maintain social distancing inside stores.
“Take extra precaution around the Boxing Day sales. Remember they are not a one day event,” the SDA’s NSW/ACT secretary Bernie Smith said in a statement on December 26.
“The reality is the Boxing Day sales usually run for about two weeks after Christmas. There is plenty of time to bag a bargain and stay safe too.
“Plan your sale visits over subsequent days to promote social distancing and help keep workers and fellow shoppers as safe as possible.”