Books and vinyl records: Retro gifts make Christmas comeback

Shoppers are opting to buy books and vinyl records for their loved ones this festive season. Source: Getty

Christmas is just days away and it turns out Aussies are rejecting modern gifts and going retro this holiday season. New research from the Australian Retailers Association (ARA) and Roy Morgan found shoppers are instead opting to buy books and vinyl records for their loved ones this festive season.

Books will be piled high under the Christmas tree this year, with the ARA and Roy Morgan projecting a 2.7 per cent increase in sales for the ‘Other’ retailing category, which consists of newspapers and books, recreational goods, cosmetics and toiletries.

ARA Executive Director Russell Zimmerman told Starts at 60 that there’s especially a returned interest in hard copy books.

“I’ve been speaking to a number of book retailers and all of them tell me there seems to be a bit of a return or resurgence of going back to reading a hard copy book rather than trying to read of an iPad,” Zimmerman said.

Nielsen BookScan, an Australian publishing company, have also noticed a growth in physical book sales, with a 1.3 per cent increase so far this year. Elsewhere, Dymocks is estimating more than 2 million books to be sold in the lead-up to Christmas, accounting for 30 per cent of total books sales.

Sophie Higgins — Head of Marketing and Merchandise at Dymocks — added this year’s non-fiction category will notice an incline from 39 per cent to 50 per cent of total sales, with biographies and cookbooks influencing the surge.

“With the likes of Shane Warne, Leigh Sales and Michelle Obama’s biographies hitting the shelves, customers have been eager to get their hands on some of the biggest titles to come out this year,” Higgins said. “Cookbooks are always a fan favourite for Christmas, and with bestsellers coming from Jamie Oliver, Donna Hay, Yotam Ottlenghi and Annabel Crabb, Aussies will have endless recipes to trial and master.”

And, while vinyl records might have phased out in the late ’80s, there seems to be a resurgence of records this Christmas. 

“Over the last couple of years there’s been a bit of a resurgence on the old-fashioned style record players,” Zimmerman said. “So because of that I think a bit of what we’re seeing now is obviously a popularity of the record players and the popularity of the records themselves.”

Technology, of course, is still huge for presents this year. Other than computers, mobile phones and iPads, drones and virtual reality products are also very big.

Elsewhere, ARA predicts Australians will fork out an estimated $50 billion over the Christmas period, with food, apparel and hospitality sales up more than 3 per cent this year.

What are you buying for friends and family this year? 

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