Record online sales are expected on Boxing Day as coronavirus-conscious shoppers buy with their browsers rather than join the crowds.
Shoppers have been tipped to spend $4 billion – more than last year – in stores and online, based on Commonwealth Bank data.
Australian Retailers Association chief executive Paul Zahra predicted the online record.
“The big difference this year will be an even heightened level in online shopping because some people want to avoid crowds,” he said.
“We still expect crowds but people will be more organised. There will be less browsing.”
Mr Zahra said he expected total sales to exceed last year because people could or would not spend their money on overseas travel during the COVID-19 pandemic.
People had also saved money after spending more time at home, he said.
Australians spend about $60 billion per year on overseas travel and this money is being spent other ways.
“Lockdowns have eased and there is new reason to shop,” Mr Zahra said.
“We’re celebrating with family and enjoying the outdoors.”
The Commonwealth Bank survey of 1005 people found 69 per cent were planning to buy something on Boxing Day.
The average spend planned was $557, which was 14 per cent higher than last year.
Clothing is tipped to be the most popular purchase.
Technology, home electricals and white goods were next on the shopping list.
While many shoppers will be seeking bargains, online businessman Paul Wigger warned of misleading advertising.
Ads promoting discounts of about 80 per cent often only applied to select products being phased out, he said.
“Make sure the deal runs store-wide and not on select product lines,” he said.
Other goods will be in short supply.
Woolworths group boss Brad Banducci, whose responsibilities include Big W, this month said some toys and consumer electronics were proving difficult to source.
Some overseas manufacturers have struggled to keep up with demand during the pandemic.
The Australian Retailers Association tipped the buying frenzy would continue through the holidays.
The association and research group Roy Morgan tipped sales to January 15 would improve 2.1 per cent on last year.
Cafes, pubs and restaurants would have the greatest improvement, 10.7 per cent.
Retailers will encourage mask wearing and social distancing as virus infections climb.