Online Christmas shopping soars as Australia Post scrambles to deliver gifts on time

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A record number of gifts under the Christmas tree have likely been purchased online this year, as Australia Post scrambles to deliver more than a million packages to Queensland this week.

The National Retail Association (NRA) predicts a 51% increase in online sales across Australia this Christmas, worth a total of $ 8.2 billion.

But NRA chief executive Dominique Lamb said overall spending would likely be even higher.

“Australians are expected to spend $ 60.8 billion between November 15 and Christmas Day,” she said.

“In the last three days before Christmas we know the people of Queensland will spend $ 1.6 billion, which is an increase of around 5% from last year’s figures.

Christmas shoppers at the Chermside shopping center in north Brisbane on December 23, 2021.(ABC News: Rachel McGhee)

An Australia Post spokeswoman said her staff in Queensland had delivered more than 1.45 million packages so far this week, including 500,000 packages as of Monday alone.

Buyers hide

Under the current COVID-19 restrictions in Queensland, people over 12 must wear masks at all times in malls, supermarkets and stores.

Amie Kinnane said she was a little nervous about venturing into Brisbane’s Chermside shopping center with her children amid the growing number of cases.

“But Christmas photos with Santa Claus are kind of a priority in our family,” Ms. Kinnane said.

“It’s a tradition, so we’re here and doing everything we can to really distance ourselves from others.

Amie Kinnane and her children Charlie and Evie at the Chermside shopping center.
Amie Kinnane and her children Charlie and Evie at the Chermside shopping center.(ABC News: Rachel McGhee)

But Fiona Stager, co-owner of Avid Reader bookstore in downtown West End, said online sales didn’t match the experience of choosing a gift in-store.

“Now that we’re lucky that we can be in a safe COVID environment, people want to come, because there is nothing quite like flipping through a book in a bookstore,” Ms. Stager said.

“They also want to buy local.”

Fiona Stager, co-owner of Avid Reader bookstore, holds a book in her shop in Brisbane
Avid Reader bookstore co-owner Fiona Stager said online sales don’t match the experience of choosing a gift in-store.(ABC News: Rachel McGhee)

Buy from the Bush returns online

A pop-up store filled with goods made in rural Queensland is trying to clear its shelves before closing on December 30.

Buy from Bush founder Kerri Brennan said the campaign started on social media in 2018 to provide an additional source of income for drought-stricken farmers and now has grown to more than 50 small businesses.

“Everything from leather goods and jewelry, to linen, clothing, candles, soaps, cured meats, jams and chutneys… toys for children,” Ms. Brennan said.

“The money goes into the hands of a rural Queensland family.”

Staff working at the Buy from the bush pop-up store on December 23, 2021.
The Buy from the Bush in Brisbane, stocked with goods made in the Queensland countryside, is trying to clear its shelves before closing on December 30.(Provided: Buy bush)

After a year of trading in Brisbane’s inner suburbs at New Farm, Buy from the Bush is set to close its doors and open a new online store.

“COVID has made the year difficult for our little store,” Ms. Brennan said.

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Attention to buyers: the long wait for the freight

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