With more Australians shopping online than ever before, time is running out to have gifts delivered in time for Christmas.
Australia Post has warned that delivery for Christmas “will take longer this year as we manage the impacts of COVID-19 and more parcels than ever before”.
The deadline for sending gifts by parcel post within Australia is December 12, while the cut-off for Express Post is December 19.
Standard delivery timeframes apply for letters.
For those sending Christmas parcels and letters to loved ones in New Zealand, the deadline is this Friday, November 27.
Cards and gifts not already posted to the US, Canada, the UK, Europe, and Asia are now unlikely to arrive by December 25.
Flávio Romero Macau, a senior lecturer in supply chain management and global logistics at Edith Cowan University, warned shoppers may struggle to find their desired purchases due to pandemic-related supply chain issues.
It’s normal to have both an increase in deliveries and online shopping in the lead up to Christmas, but the pandemic has seen demand hit record levels.
“Growth in online shopping skyrocketed. You have companies that are reaching targets that they were forecasting for three years from now,” Dr Macau explained.
This has led to supply issues for some popular products.
“Businesses are finding it difficult to keep up with manufacturing, to find parts, because nowadays we are a global economy,” Dr Macau explained.
“If you have something wrong go with this very skinny supply chain, then business have a hard time going around that.”
The pandemic slowed or forced manufacturing to a halt entirely in countries including China, India, Malaysia and Thailand that “usually export parts or even finished products to Australia”.
“That lowered capacity is now starting to hit,” Dr Macau said.
Sought-after Christmas gifts that may be in short supply include bikes, video games and tech products.
“All you have to do is go to Kmart and see how reduced the bicycle section is. It’s next to nothing,” Dr Macau said.
Apple is also facing shortages of its new iPhone 12 series and may not be able to meet Christmas demand, he warned.
Shoppers set to splurge
Australian shoppers are tipped to shake off their COVID-19 crisis blues and spend big this Christmas.
The forecast splurge will help the pandemic-ravaged retail sector start recovering, according to the National Retail Association.
“Retail has experienced a rollercoaster year, with businesses across Australia forced to navigate lockdown restrictions due to COVID-19,” chief executive Dominique Lamb said.
“Many businesses desperately need a Christmas sales boost to keep themselves afloat as we head into 2021.”
The association said retail sales for the festive season are set to surpass $50 billion, a five per cent increase on 2019.
“With people unable to travel overseas, the continuation of government assistance measures and a thirst from shoppers to get out of the house following lockdown periods, we’re confident that consumer spending will be solid,” Ms Lamb said.
But with many shoppers forced to change their habits during the COVID-19 crisis due to lockdowns and social distancing rules, foot traffic in stores could be lower.
Online Christmas sales are forecast to break the $5 billion barrier for the first time this season.