Christmas shopping has started early at Dubbo this year as customers move to ensure they don't miss out amid the COVID-19 environment, retailers say.
Store owners report festive gift buying has already picked up pace, weeks ahead of the usual "mad rush".
COVID-19 was shaping decisions to snap up presents at local bricks and mortar shops, rather than risk stock selling out or shipments being delayed, they said.
Royal Bubs n Tots owner Larrissa Kek said a lot of customers were saying they had completed their Christmas shopping, when usually that would not happen until November.
"They're very nervous that things are not going to be available going towards Christmas, so the trends that I've been seeing is a lot of people have already finished, or have almost finished their Christmas shopping," she said.
The baby and children's boutique had already received special orders for gifts.
"[In] previous years, a lot of people come and have a look around and get ideas, and then they'll come back in later weeks to buy," Mrs Kek said.
"But the trend is this year, once they see something, people are snapping it up straight away, and not leaving it there, taking the chance of missing out."
The business owner said nationwide, COVID had caused shipping delays, and people were losing confidence with online shopping.
"So it's fantastic for local, because more people are shopping local and thinking about local," Mrs Kek said.
The Gift Closet owner Kristen Smith said in the past two weeks there had been an influx of people coming in to buy or look for goods to wrap up for December 25.
"They're wanting to get in earlier just in case COVID, we get a second strike and things sort of slow down.
"And stock is sort of harder for us to get at the moment, so people are buying now, and securing what they can, because they don't want to get a week out before Christmas and then all the stock is gone."
Mrs Smith said normally a "mad rush" happened in the last three weeks before Christmas, and she welcomed this year's change.
Customers at clothing, accessories and lifestyle store Frank and Enid in Wingewarra Street also had Christmas on their minds for the past three weeks, owner Barb Poulson said.
She said it was good because with products being manufactured, time frames could be a bit tighter because of COVID.
Mrs Poulson suspects consumers are remembering the experiences of the pandemic.
"They've seen what COVID does to toilet paper, there's a little bit more awareness that you have to be a bit prepared," she said.