Year after year, I get more possessions thanks to family and friends which makes the list of potential gifts for me decreases - Not a good thing for those that want to show me how much I mean to them with a gift :P
Anyhow I get reading about things - How the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) cut its rates to help out retailers, how millions of dollars ($400 million at least according to a recent Sydney Morning Herald Article "Millions of gift cards not redeemed" goes unused and that online shopping is killing traditional stores.
Addressing these; Firstly, going off general observation, the number of shoppers in the physical stores does not seem to have decreased, the numbers I believe have either stayed the same as previous years or increased. I dare say stores projected growth and perhaps didn't get it, or got the growth but everyone is spending less than was planned.
In saying this there also seems to be a lot of competition, as I said in a previous blog entry talking about the 'Bridesmaids' movie - If one gift someone was going to get someone else was that film, there are a lot of different ways of obtaining it.
The RBA lowered the interest rate, with the "Big 4" banks passing cuts (eventually). This resulted in news reporters to talk about how those cuts would provide for a better Christmas. Again, I'm not convinced this is the case, sure they save the money...but blowing the savings on Christmas, unlikely if you ask me - A portion of them? Likely. All of the savings? Very doubtful.
And finally the gift cards - Perhaps I've said it on this blog before, perhaps not. I share many a comedians criticism's of gift cards - Essentially money given to retailers in advance (before anything is actually redeemed) so they have credit up their sleeves. And it is like a currency in it's own right...that is only accepted at one particular place. In saying that, most stores offering gift cards have good variety to choose from...and a gift card ensures the recipient buys something 'appropriate' - Perfect for those inclined to buy 'inappropriate' items.
Some readers of my blog were surprised to see my incomplete listing of appliances that make for 'perfect gifts - The things like popcorn and milkshake makers. When a store sells these items for ~$30, are Australians really scrimping for a good Christmas? Those with larger families and kids might feel a squeeze but come on, Christmas only comes around once a year. It couldn't be planned for?