Xmas Shopping: Online up 15%, Walk-in down 40%

In a very hot Perth in Western Australia (which is in Australia, obviously) it is the day before Xmas and I was just watching the 24 hour news station ABC24 where they said that, for Australian stores, walk-in retail trade is down a massive 40% this year.

It seems that online trade is up 15%, but I often wonder how they know that because it is not as easy to work out as the retail trade numbers. The Retail Traders Association of Australia (RTAA) collects and monitors data about walk-in retail trade, so when they report that sales are down by 40% then we can be reasonably sure this is based on useful and auditable data. However online sales could be transacted with outlets anywhere in the world, and most of these transactions are probably with USA-based online stores and not those in Australia. So then how is it possible for someone to collect useful data in order to determine the percentage increase in online sales? I just don’t see how it could be done. About the only semi-accurate method might be to poll people and ask them how much more they have bought over the Internet this Xmas compared to last year.

So then, taking into account the above, at best, the supposed 15% increase in online sales is an educated guess. It could be, and most likely is, way out. It might be 30 or 50%, or it could even be zero or 10%. Who knows.

Also, the 40% drop in walk-in retail sales for Australia will be massively biased by data from the Eastern States—where 85% of the population lives. I suspect that for Perth here in Western Australia, the drop in walk-in sales is not as severe as it is ‘over east’. Due to the continuing resource and mining boom taking place in Western Australia, and the resultant higher levels of disposable income, I suspect the fall in walk-in retail sales here might be as low as 10 or 15%. Still not a great story for retailers who—apparently—make 60% of their entire annual income at Xmas, but much better than Xmas-period sales plummeting by 40%.

Crap.

This could be the most boring post I have done.

No wonder my readership is plummeting.