by Jeni Bone
Christmas will give online retailers plenty to smile about, as Australians indicate they will be spending up bigger than ever online, at the expense of bricks and mortar stores.
The rise of online retailing will peak at Christmas time.
According to figures from the online payment service PayPal, online stores will be inundated from now and well in to the New Year.
Elena Wise, the acting managing director of PayPal Australia, said its research predicted this would be the busiest online shopping week the nation had seen, with time-poor consumers stocking up on presents online and from all over the globe.
Forecasts from eBay also indicate this week will be the busiest week for online shopping, with next Sunday tipped to be its busiest day, with more than 1.6 million Australian expected to visit the site.
An eBay vice-president, Deborah Sharkey, said Australian consumers had 'stepped up a gear' in the past 12 months and had become an 'army of savvy online deal hunters' trying to track down the best prices.
'With more than 10 million Australians now shopping online, smart shoppers can get the best deals on gifts and save time and energy to spend on the most important ingredients of the festive period, friends and family,' she said.
Australia Post predicts it will deliver an extra 3 million parcels this month.
A senior analyst with IBISWorld, Ian MacGowan, said research showed Australians would spend $10 billion this financial year on online shopping and 90 per cent of that would be with Australian retailers.
Mr MacGowan said most retailers would struggle this Christmas but business would be strong for online stores.
'Sales for online Australian retailers will grow by 9.3 per cent this Christmas which will make online retail by far the best performing area in terms of retail,' Mr MacGowan said.