Spending levels are predicted to be up on 2010 as retailers enter into the peak Christmas shopping period this week.

According to the Australian National Retailers Association (ANRA), Christmas spending will increase by 10 per cent this week as more people hit the shops to finish off their shopping.

ANRA CEO Margy Osmond said retailers will be expecting a rush to the store, particularly after last week’s cash rate cut by the Reserve Bank of Australia.

“We are predicting a 3.85 per cent increase in spending in 2011 compared with 2010, and we are just reaching the ‘pointy end’ of Christmas retailing. ANRA anticipates Aussies will part with $6.5 billion dollars this week, with the biggest spend in New South Wales,” she said.
“There are slight differences around the country – NSW people plan to do most of their shopping two weeks out – so they top spending this week with $2.2 billion going through the stores. Likewise, West Australians will get into the stores this week and get the bulk of their gift buying finished and ready to go under the tree well before the 25th December.

“However, in South Australia two weeks out is the slowest retail week – with only $370million in sales anticipated there.”

ANRA found the majority of Australians are planning to spend ‘about the same’ amount on Christmas gifts in 2011 as they did in 2010, but only 31 per cent planned to spend less, a 5 per cent improvement on last year, when 36 per cent were reducing their Christmas gift giving.

“Family is the leading category for people to buy for – 71 per cent of us buy for family and children come a close second (61 per cent). Just over 13 per cent of us will put something under the tree for a furry or finned friend, and twice as many women as men will buy for their pets (18 per cent of women, 9 per cent of men),” Osmond said.

“Those aged between 18 and 24 also list pets as on their gift giving list – 18 per cent of their pets will find a little something special under the tree with their name on it this year.”