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Xmas insider: Retail outlook for the holiday season

New research has revealed the key forces set to drive booming sales this Christmas season.

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E-commerce and marketplaces are expected to lead  the way as the biggest trading channels in the 2018 holiday period, according to new research.

The research, released on Tuesday by retail management platform Neto, has revealed that most Australian retailers are backing online channels, such as  eCommerce sites, marketplaces and online sales events as the key growth drivers for the upcoming Christmas trading period.

The snap poll, which surveyed 107 Australian small-medium sized retailers about their sales predictions across channels in the 2018 Christmas trading period, has unveiled the forces set to drive success or failure this season.

Ryan Murtagh, CEO and founder of Neto said that e-commerce is set to be one of the biggest channels for trading this Christmas.

“It’s noteworthy that every retailer we spoke to has online – either marketplaces, an eCommerce store, or both – as a pivotal channel for its Christmas sales strategy. Regardless of their size, we’re seeing most Australian retailers adapt to the evolving shopping preferences of consumers,” he said.

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Marketplaces will also be increasingly important avenues for retail sales, the research says, with 60 per cent of respondents using marketplaces as a complementary sales channel to their physical stores or eCommerce sites.

Of these retailers, 50 per cent of retailers using marketplaces as part of their channel mix, expect up to 25% of Christmas sales will come through marketplaces.

Of the 85% of retailers with a branded e-commerce site as part of their channel, one in four retailers expect more than 75% of Christmas sales to be sold via their online store.

E-commerce was also ranked no.1 as the channel predicted to succeed the most this Christmas, followed closely by physical stores and followed by eBay, and then other marketplaces such as Catch, Groupon or TradeMe.

Retailers also said that  Boxing Day and January sales would be eclipsed by Pre-Xmas sales promotions with 58% of retailers said they intend to offer major promotions or sales before Christmas day.

“It’s interesting that nearly 60 percent of retailers intend to offer sales before Christmas rather than in the traditional post-Christmas sale periods. One could speculate this is a result of growth in eCommerce and online marketplaces where price has a stronger weighting around sales conversion,” Mr Murtagh said.

“It’s also testament to shoppers expecting a consistent sales experience regardless of which channel they buy from. For retailers, this means being able to sell everywhere and manage everything seamlessly, particularly in busy sales periods such as Christmas.”