More than two-thirds (69%) of Australians plan to spend the same or even more on gifts this year, averaging $250 more compared to last year, the Accenture 2021 Consumer Shopping report has shown.

Accenture suggests retailers should capitalise on consumer optimism for the holiday season by prioritising initiatives that will have the biggest impact on excitement with gift inspiration key.

“Consumer spending power and buying patterns need to be monitored as prosperity to spend and willingness to pay varies across consumer types. Also think about the opportunity to connect company purpose with consumer passion via charity sponsorship, support and donations” Accenture Australia and New Zealand retail industry lead, Michelle Grujin said.

Most Australians (56%) plan to return to physical stores for Christmas shopping this year with young Australians expecting in-store services to be similar to what they enjoy online such as seamless payments, digital personal assistance and the ability to have items delivered to their home.

Paying with a smartphone or smartwatch is critical for 91% of younger consumers, while only 28% of older Australians care about the service.

Accenture encourages retailers to use forensic insight to identify what might be lacking in the shopper journey and to reappraise in-store investments to accelerate digital components.

“Experiment with digital commerce experiences through partnerships and create an integrated yet tailored approach to enabling channel-less shopping. Continue to monitor consumer spending patterns across the holiday season as spending shifts earlier and major shopping days lose their appeal,” Grujin said.

With ongoing supply chain challenges, nearly half (42%) of shoppers are concerned about product shortages and are heading out early to purchase presents with four in 10 (40%) already starting their shopping before December.

They are also more likely to buy Australian-made products for increased certainty, with an increasing interest in green and sustainable options such as refillable, reusable or recyclable products.