A leading courier service is urging retailers to get Christmas-ready, after conducting research that reveals two-thirds of Australian shoppers are planning to purchase gifts months ahead of Christmas.

During the key Christmas trading months of November and December in 2021, Australians spent more than $65 billion in-store and online – a $3 billion increase on the previous year, ABS statistics revealed. However, household Christmas budgets may not go as far as last year, with inflation and interest rates continuing to rise.

CouriersPlease’s survey found that 54% of shoppers are feeling the pinch and will spend less on Christmas gifts, compared with just 3% who said they will spend more. Specifically, just over one-quarter (26%) said they will spend less overall and 26% said they will give fewer gifts.

When respondents were asked how soon they will shop with ongoing supply chain issues and product shortages, more than six in 10 (61%) of respondents said they will shop earlier this year than they normally do. Specifically, one-third (32%) plan to do their Christmas shopping this month, meaning 66% of consumers will have completed their Christmas shopping by the end of October.

CouriersPlease chief transformation officer, Jessica Ip said, “Our research shows Christmas will be coming early for retailers, with a majority of shopping earlier than they did last year. I strongly encourage retailers to prepare for an influx of pre-Christmas shoppers earlier this year by ensuring they maintain healthy stock levels.

“It is also important to ensure their ecommerce stores are well-equipped to handle increased customer volumes, with a strong plan in place to avoid or resolve glitches or the potential for websites to crash quickly and early. Ensuring customer service staff are equipped to manage increased enquiries will also be important.

“Retailers could also consider hiring additional staff to ensure orders are picked and packed swiftly, while having a courier partner with a strong track record for on-time deliveries and strategies in place to combat delays will also be key.”