News & insights

Australian holiday shoppers prefer to shop in-store versus online

This month, our CPM Expert Speak feature is brought to you by Andrew Potter, Group Managing Director, CPM Australia & Retail Safari in collaboration with Monash University. CPM Australia and Monash University carried out research around Christmas Shopper Behaviours in the build up to the festive season.

CPM Australia, in partnership with Monash University, shares its latest research study which examines Christmas Shopper Behaviours during the busiest shopping season of the year.

According to research results, in-store purchase is still the most preferred channel for Australian consumers this Christmas. However, the data also reconfirms the notion of in-store and online shopping being treated separately is no longer valid. Increasingly, more and more brands and retailers are blurring the lines seamlessly between digital and in-store experiences.

As the blend between physical and digital becomes more popular, the desire among consumers to complete their Christmas shopping in actual stores is still strong. This holiday season, most consumers plan to use both physical store and online (49%), or only physical stores (43%) to conduct their shopping. Only 8% of surveyed consumers plan to use exclusively online channels during this holiday trading period.

These well-informed shoppers have started thinking about what to buy this year two months prior to Christmas.


The figures indicate that the majority of buyers are planning to do most of their Christmas shopping in November (51%), leaving only 30% making purchases in December.


Given shoppers have already done their homework and are starting early, ensuring knowledgeable retail sales people are available will be even more critical to the in-store mix this coming November and December. In order to maximize influence with consumers at the store level during this crucial trading period, it’s vital that brands and retailers properly invest in their shop floor staff this Christmas so they can be seen as a trusted resource where they can pass on expert advice.


The in-store experience is paramount. Online shopping offers convenience, but the physical store offers a sensory experience. The research demonstrates that not only does physically holding a product create a sense of ownership but it also drives must-have purchase decisions.  Well over half (60.5%) of respondents report that the ability to see & touch the product in-store, for example, in-store sales demonstrations, enhance their shopping experience.  This is also the main reason for shopping in a physical store this Christmas instead of online.

Other reasons why shoppers favour the physical experience include:

  • Avoid shipping costs (39.2%),
  • Inspiration & gift ideas (32.4%)
  • Speedy returns policy (31.1%)

In terms of spending outlook for this year’s holiday season, the majority of respondents expect to spend about the same amount on Christmas shopping this year as they did last year (55.6%) while 18.1% confirmed they intend to spend less.


In terms of purchasing plans for presents; gift cards and gift certificates (45%) will be the most common type of present consumers intend to buy this Christmas, followed by clothing and shoes (39%), toys (33.1%) and food and liquor (32.7%). As Christmas becomes the time to entertain and indulge, food & liquor will be popular gifts chosen by those aged 18-34 and 55-74. Gift givers are least likely to purchase craft items or sports gear for this holiday season.


What this research tells us is that consumers won’t be shopping in a single retail format this Christmas.


Therefore, during this critical trading period, brands must be available across multiple formats as well as getting even closer to the customer to meet their needs with a whole personalized shopping opportunity. 


To find out more on this research piece, please contact Andrew Potter on: +61 3 9211 2300 or to learn more on how CPM’s services can help drive sales for your brand during this festive season, please visit our Services page.

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