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Bargain hunting to heat up as Christmas shopping starts early

Cash-strapped shoppers are primed to enjoy an early wave of discounts as retailers aim to keep buyers spending through the festive season.

An annual report into holiday retail from consulting giant Deloitte that was made public this week shows 71 per cent of retailers surveyed by the group expect higher discounting this festive season than last year.

The Christmas rush looks set to start early this year, with some sales starting in October.

The Christmas rush looks set to start early this year, with some sales starting in October. Credit: Jason South

“Retailers tell us discounting and promotional activity will be the key to enticing customers,” the Deloitte report said.

Deloitte’s research included interviews with between 35 and 40 large businesses as well as consumer data from more than 20,000 shoppers worldwide. The report also said retailers would invest heavily in online, click-and-collect and delivery options, while boosting in-store experiences too.

While discounts may help to move products off shelves, few retailers are optimistic that their margins will hold up – 52 per cent expect a decline in margins for in-store shopping this year.

Recent retail sales figures suggest Aussie retailers face a tough fight for the consumer dollar over coming months, with shoppers cutting back on categories such as fashion and home goods to balance rising mortgage and fuel costs. 

E-commerce retail giant Amazon is banking on consumers bringing their festive spending forward, with a survey for the company of more than 1000 Australian consumers showing just one in five plan to wait until December to start shopping for the season.

Seventy-one per cent of consumers said they would begin before December, and 40 per cent said they were waiting for a sale event before shopping for the holiday season.

Amazon, which is known for offering big Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales events in November, confirmed on Monday that it would be offering early holiday deals to its Prime members as part of a “Prime Big Deal Day”, on October 10 and 11.

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