USUALLY it's the post-Christmas period that is the time to get a shopping bargain - but it may be a different story this year.
Widespread pre-Christmas discounting, by as much as 50% in some department and chain stores, could see fewer customers rushing to Boxing Day sales.
While Australian retailers are expecting to share in $14.8 billion in post-Christmas sales, Queensland University of Technology business lecturer Gary Mortimer is tipping sales will be down on previous years.
"My personal projection will be that Boxing Day sales post Christmas will be softer than last year," he said.
"Generally, because the strong price cutting and discounting in the lead up to Christmas."
Dr Mortimer said the risk of constantly driving bigger discounts was sensitising customers to expect discounts.
He also pointed out the increase in online shopping and the impact on the traditional, in-store form of Christmas shopping.
"The growth rate of online shopping this year is about 25% and while a majority of that were Australian products in the domestic market, it still has an impact on in-store, bricks and mortar sales," he said.
But online options still won't keep some hardcore bargain-hunters away with many expected to line-up outside department stores early on Boxing Day morning.
The Australian Retailers' Association predicts Queensland will see $3 billion in post-christmas sales, NSW $4.5 billion and Victoria $3.7 billion.
ARA executive director Russell Zimmerman said of the $14.8 billion in total sales $6.8 billion would be spent on non-food sale items as price-sensitive consumers hunted down bargains but monitored their spending carefully.
National Retail Association executive director Trevor Evans said retailers had reported an initially slow Christmas period, which had picked-up over the past fortnight.
He said online shopping was unlikely to diminish Boxing Day sales.
"Online shopping options are unlikely to diminish enthusiasm for Boxing Day sales, because there will be heavy discounting in this year's sales and obviously there is no delay in receiving the items in the Boxing Day sales," he said.
Myer expects 13 million people to walk into their stores across Australia over the stock take sale period from December 27 to January 27.
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