- Only 62% of retailers expect to see higher sales this Christmas compared to last year, compared to 80% in 2018, with just under 40% expecting to see some form of Christmas period margin decrease.
- Online sales continue to be a standout area of growth, with 58% of retailers expecting to see growth of 10% or more in online Christmas sales, down from 79% in 2018.
- When to discount and by how much remains a critical decision, with 39% of retailers planning to discount before Christmas to drive sales compared to 31% in FY18 through sales campaigns such as Black Friday and Cyber Monday.
- Over a quarter of respondents highlighted customer service as the most important driver of sales this Christmas, just behind digital and omni-channel offerings.
- 42% of respondents believe that social, ethical and environmental responsibility is not important to their brand. However, 91% of retailers surveyed believe that customer loyalty to their brand is good or strong – a concerning perception gap which indicates the that Australian retailers may not be responding to the growing demand for organisations to operate in a responsible manner.
- As we look forward toward 2020, 72% expect to see positive sales growth in calendar year 2020, down from more than 90% for 2019. Only 11% expect new stores to drive growth, which has consistently trended down from the height of 2017 where 43% highlighted this as a key growth driver.
By Michael Barker