Retailers in Australia are optimistic about this year’s Christmas trading period, according to new data from Deloitte.

The organisation’s second annual Christmas Retailers’ Survey found 65 per cent of businesses are positive about the festive season this year, although this has dropped slightly from 69 per cent in 2012.

Deloitte lead retail partner David White said retailing in Australia has experienced challenges over the last nine months, but the sector remains fairly upbeat.

“Retailers appear somewhat optimistic for the holiday period,” he stated.

“Many are predicting higher sales volume, although margins remain consistent with last year.”

Online retailing

Deloitte noted that there is an interesting trend in the online retailing market, with 38 per cent of survey respondents claiming competition from internet sellers is their biggest problem.

However, 25 per cent of Australian retailers expect no sales from their online channels at all, while 54 per cent feel that less than two per cent of all purchases will be made over the web.

Mr White said: “Despite the admission that they are being digitally disrupted from home and abroad, there remains a hard core of respondents who continue to ignore the growth and efficiency opportunities offered by an omni-channel strategy that includes the ability for customers to interact and transact with brands and products digitally.”

Future predictions

Over half of respondents surveyed believe consumer confidence will rise over the next year, compared with just 21 per cent who said the same in 2012.

General optimism regarding the state of the economy was mixed, with 38 per cent of retailers saying it will get stronger, while 20 per cent think it will remain unchanged.

The percentage of retailers in Australia that consider overseas sellers to be their greatest competition slumped from 58 per cent last year to 40 per cent in 2013.