The continued growth in online shopping is impacting on when and where Australians made their Christmas purchases.
Online shopping has become as popular a pastime as watching television for young people in a new era of “retailtainment”, research from online payments giant PayPal has found.
Two thirds of smartphone users “digitally window shop” for fun, with 77 per cent of them making impulse purchases, PayPal said.
Fifty per cent of people under 35 say they shop on their mobiles in bed before going to sleep.
Shopping as a leisure activity is particularly popular among Gen Z (22 years and under) who rank it equally alongside watching television as a way to unwind, the research found.
PayPal's findings are based on recent online surveys of about 1000 smartphone users aged 18 and over, and of about 400 small to medium merchants with online stores.
Retail experts say the shift in spending is placing even more pressure on retailers in the traditionally strong Christmas period.
There has been movement in consumer spending in the last few years coinciding with the rise of global online retail events.- Retail leader James Stewart
Increased competition from global retailers coupled with subdued consumer confidence, low wages growth, rising petrol and energy costs, and falling house prices, are dampening spending.
“We are starting to see a shift in when Australian consumers spend in the critical Christmas quarter,” said retail leader James Stewart.
“Traditionally retail sales would steadily increase month-on-month in the lead up to Christmas and Boxing Day.
“However, there has been movement in consumer spending in the last few years coinciding with the rise of global online retail events.”
Online retail sales increased about 28 per cent in August, year on year, according to ABS data.
Research by retail platform company Neto showed online clothing sales grew 57 per cent year on year, homewares by 55 per cent, motor parts 49 per cent, health and beauty products 37 per cent, pet care 35 per cent and sporting goods 28 per cent.
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