SHOPPERS buying Christmas gifts online should wrap up purchases in the first week of December to make sure they arrive in the nick of time, says the Australian Retailers Association (ARA).
The first half of December is traditionally the busiest period of the year for e-commerce retailers, with online Christmas purchases required to be finalised earlier than bricks and mortar stores to accommodate delivery through postal and courier systems.
The ARA estimates Australians will spend around $2.8 billion online in the six weeks leading up to Christmas.
ARA executive director Russell Zimmerman says there is more flexibility around ordering dates compared to previous years, with the introduction of services like same-day-delivery and click-and-collect.
"Although the ARA would advise online shoppers to make sure they are leaving plenty of time to ensure Christmas deliveries arrive before December 25, retailers are now offering a host of options to allow shoppers more convenience and flexibility this Christmas," Zimmerman says.
"We're seeing Australians increasingly use online for the purchase of Christmas gifts, especially as the channel evolves to make it easier for shoppers to receive their goods quickly and in a way that suits them.
"In fact we see a big incidence of people who may order a product online, go into a store to pick it up and end up purchasing other products while instore."
Online shopping makes up 7.1 per cent of total retail expenditure in Australia, excluding restaurants, cafes and takeaway food. About a quarter of online transactions this Christmas are expected to be made on a mobile device.
"The number of people doing their Christmas shopping from a mobile or tablet is expected to be the largest ever, and the ARA encourages retailers to ensure they have all the requirements in place to enable shoppers a happy experience, from security measures to back of house IT systems," Zimmerman says.
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