Online sales record announced for Boxing Day | Canberra time

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Record online sales are expected on Boxing Day as coronavirus-aware shoppers shop with their browser rather than join the crowds. Shoppers were tipped to spend $4 billion – more than last year – in stores and online, based on Commonwealth Bank data. Australian Retailers Association chief executive Paul Zahra predicted the online record. “The big difference this year will be an even higher level of online shopping as some people want to avoid crowds,” he said. “We’re still expecting crowds but people will be more organised. There will be less browsing.” Mr Zahra said he expected total sales to top last year because people may or may not want to spend their money on overseas trips during the COVID-19 pandemic. People had also saved money after spending more time at home, he said. Australians spend around $60 billion a year on overseas travel and that money is spent in other ways. “Lockdowns have eased and there are new reasons to shop,” Mr Zahra said. “We celebrate with the family and enjoy the outdoors.” The Commonwealth Bank’s survey of 1,005 people found that 69% planned to buy something on Boxing Day. The average planned expenditure was $557, 14% more than last year. Clothing is considered the most popular purchase. Technology, home appliances and appliances were next on the shopping list. While many shoppers will be looking for bargains, online businessman Paul Wigger has warned against misleading advertising. Ads promoting discounts of around 80% often only applied to certain products being phased out, he said. “Make sure the deal applies to the entire store and not to certain product lines,” he said. Other goods will be in short supply. Woolworths Group boss Brad Banducci, whose responsibilities include Big W, said this month that some toys and consumer electronics were proving hard to come by. Some overseas manufacturers have struggled to keep up with demand during the pandemic. The Australian Retailers Association said the shopping spree will continue over the holidays. The association and the research group Roy Morgan announced that sales to January 15 would increase by 2.1% compared to last year. Cafes, pubs and restaurants would have the biggest improvement, 10.7%. Retailers will encourage mask-wearing and social distancing as virus infections increase. Australian Associated Press

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David A. Albanese