Buying online adds to problem of lack of variety locally

MORE Queenslanders are expected to head online before anywhere else to do their Christmas shopping this year, but locals are urging people to give them a go first.

A recent Appliances Online survey found that Queenslanders were expected to be the busiest online shoppers this year, with 81% expected to head online to do some of their shopping.

Meanwhile, regional shoppers are actually outpacing their city counterparts, and this has the Gladstone Chamber of Commerce and Industry worried.

"There are things here that I don't believe people discover, because they quite readily go online before doing anything else," GCCI president Rick Hansen said.

While the GCCI does not have any hard data on whether Gladstone residents' online shopping is hurting local businesses in the hunt for Christmas bargains, Mr Hansen urged shoppers to try their local stores first this Christmas.

"By buying locally you're buying from a business that support your sporting organisations and your charity organisations and they employ your children."

Mr Hansen added that if shoppers were heading online, frustrated by a lack of variety and range from Gladstone retailers, then they were adding to the problem.

"People seem to complain that we don't have enough variety in shopping in Gladstone. The only way we will get variety is to create consumer demand. No-one will invest in Gladstone if they can't demonstrate a feasible business case."