CANBERRA, Dec. 24 (Xinhua) -- Australians are making last-minute shopping before Christmas on Sunday as 100 billion Aussie dollars (38.5 billion U.S. dollars) are expected to be spent, leading up to the most important holiday on Monday.
Australian Retailers Association executive director Russell Zimmerman predicted a 2.8 percent increase from last year in pre-Christmas shopping across Australia, with 20 billion Aussie dollars expected to be spent on food.
Shoppers flocked to the Sydney Fish Market for its traditional 36-hour pre-Christmas trade marathon since 5 a.m. local time on Dec. 23. Organizers believed that record-breaking number of shoppers will visit the market this year before the market shuts the door at 5 p.m. on Christmas Eve.
"Last year we had a massive 114,000 people and we're tracking to beat that this year," Sydney Fish Market general manager Bryan Skepper told the Australian Associated Press (AAP) on Sunday.
Prawns have been the number one seller, with oysters and blue swimmer crabs also popular among the shoppers, Skepper said.
Australia has seen an increase of online shopping this year, the biggest among all categories. Online shopping represents more than 7 percent of Australia's total retail turnover, compared to just under 6 percent one year ago, Zimmerman said.
While most of the shopping malls and small shops are closed for Christmas Day, Boxing Day is traditionally a day for shopping as sellers usually offer huge discounts.
National Retail Association Chief Executive Dominique Lamb said shoppers were expected to spend 2.36 billion Aussie dollars on Boxing Day, up 3 percent on the 2016 figure of 2.28 billion Aussie dollars.
"This is a much-needed revenue for retailers," Lamb said.
"We know that they spend the whole year planning this sale, it's absolutely the pinnacle of their retail calendar and they're very excited to greet their customers early on Tuesday morning."
Lamb said retailers in each of the states and territories could expect a boost in Boxing Day sales.
"Given that Christmas is on a Monday this year we know that people have left Christmas shopping as long as they possibly can...but what we've seen in the last 12 days is a huge surge towards the shops," she told AAP.