Last-minute shoppers put strain on businesses

Retailers can't afford not to keep pace in the few days before Christmas, especially as many shoppers are leaving their purchases until the last minute. NAB has revealed that 2014 is similar to previous years in that consumers have waited until the final Friday before Christmas (December 19) to hit the shops.

Analysing card transaction data, the bank revealed that the volume of sales on the Friday before Christmas was 12 per cent higher than it was two years ago. With demand for retail services on the rise, businesses may want to think carefully about workflow automation in order to speed up operations.

NAB Executive General Manager for Consumer Lending Angus Gilfillan said the first Monday of December is typically a busy time for online retailers. Last year, however, it was the second Monday when the greatest amount of transactions were carried out, up 25 per cent on 2012 levels.

Mr Gilfillan added: "Traditionally, we see a lot of our customers shopping online during late November and early December.

"We've seen that again this year with a 7 per cent increase year on year for the busiest day for online shopping among NAB customers, which was Monday December 1 this year."

Other figures recently released by NAB indicated that online retailers are not faring as well as would be expected at the moment, with transaction levels down in October. Sales contracted 0.2 per cent over the course of the month and are now only 3.9 per cent higher than 12 months ago.

NAB estimates suggest Australians spent around $16.3 billion online during the 12 months to November, which is the equivalent to around 6.8 per cent of spending in bricks and mortar stores. This has been established using data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics and excludes restaurants, cafes and takeaway food.

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