Buyer beware: What’s hot this Christmas before shelves empty
Basketballs, black watches, car covers, portable eskies, fishing rods, four-wheel drive accessories and Christmas lights are the top trending goods in southeast Queensland in the lead up to Christmas.
The items are on a list of yuletide goodies in limited supply after a year of disruption to supply chains following the outbreak of COVID-19 and ensuing chilly relations with China.
Pot plants, candle holders, cosmetic purses and electronic games such as Nintendo Switch and Minecraft Loot, have been flying off shelves as fast as retailers can restock.
And the trend is expected to quicken this week as online shoppers hunker down to snare a bargain before stocks run out.
Statistics released from the Australian Retailers Association and Roy Morgan this week predicted a 2.8 per cent surge in spending across the country before Christmas Day.
Queensland traders can expect a 9.3 per cent consumer splurge, the third lowest in the country - trailing Tasmania and Northern Territory but well behind the 14 per cent predicted for Western Australia and 12 per cent in the ACT.
Consumers have been warned to get in early with 58 per cent of those surveyed by Australia Post in the past month revealing they will complete their online Christmas shopping by the end of next week.
But Australian Retailers Association chief executive Paul Zahra said bare shelves at some major retail and grocery outlets were because of a massive spike in demand after a frugal year for many households and not because of delivery issues.
"Overall, retailers have coped extremely well with supply chain challenges and Queenslanders can feel confident that as long as they shop early, most items will be in reasonable supply," he said.
"Having said that, patience is also required where any shortages do occur.
"There has been some disruption to supply chains due to extended lockdowns in Victoria, Australia's capital for freight and distribution.
"The virus certainly made forecasting for inventory difficult for retailers and, along with elevated demand in some parts of retail, has led to some temporary shortages."
Stores at the Loganholme Home Centre, the Beenleigh Marketplace and the Logan Hyperdome were already experiencing a rush on some items with gaps on shelves for goods mainly from China.
At Supercheap Auto at Loganholme a rush on four-wheel drive awnings and other car accessories cleared out shelves while 11 other items from China were also out of stock.
Staff said consignments had been stepped up and supplies were returning to normal.
Rebel Sport at Loganholme reported a rise in demand for basketballs and black watches but said sales of apparel such as sneakers and sweat shirts had so far been slow.
Those thinking of giving mechanical gifts requiring batteries were also warned to stock up in advance with gaps on shelves for AAA and AA at some Bunnings stores.
Traders at Beenleigh Marketplace, which has just undergone a multimillion-dollar renovation, reported high sales of electronic games and equipment.
EB Games at Beenleigh Marketplace said its biggest selling item was Nintendo Switch, a children's gift, with Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War; Assassin's Creed Valhalla; and Minecraft Loot also in the charts.
Ceramic plates and teapots were racing out the door from King of Gifts with leather hand pouches, bath bombs, diaries and calendars from Kaisercraft also popular.
Extra supplies of cosmetic bags and three-piece tote sets were on order at Priceline with extra orders for gold bracelets from Prouds.
Shelves at global fashion retailer Cotton On, which opened at Beenleigh in September, were well stocked with the Christmas retail surge for swimwear, pyjamas, sports wear, shoes, and accessories yet to take off.
CHRISTMAS IS COMING …
■ 74% of retailers say Jobkeeper has helped them avoid redundancies during the pandemic
■ Strong polarisation in growth expectations: 39 per cent of retailers expect Christmas sales to exceed 2019 by more than 5 per cent; contrasting with 24 per cent who expect them to decline by more than 5 per cent
■ 71 per cent expect online sales during Christmas to exceed the same period last year
■ 44 per cent of respondents expect more than 10 per cent of total sales to be online this Christmas, the highest in the history of the Australian Retailers Association survey.
Originally published as Buyer beware: What's hot this Christmas before shelves empty