A credit reporting agency says its survey showing consumers are turning away from credit cards to cash for their expenses means retailers will need to be innovative to attract buyers.
The survey by Dun Bradstreet has found nearly half of all consumers plan to use their own savings to pay for Christmas expenses rather than put them on plastic.
General manager John Scott says it has been a turbulent year and consumers are being very conservative and realistic, concentrating on repaying debt and curbing holiday spending plans.
He says as many as three-quarters of those surveyed said they had no intention of making a major purchase in the coming three months and that backs up what retailers have been saying recently.
Mr Scott says retailers will need to be innovative with value adds and what they provide to customers to attract conservative consumers during the coming months.
They 've got to create a point of difference and that's challenging in a marketplace where they're facing increased competition from online and internet based services too.
This view is echoed by chief executive of the loss-making clothing retailer Pumpkin Patch.
Maurice Prendergast says the trading outlook is very difficult over the next six months with retailers likely to feel the effects of consumer resistance to spending as they pay back the big amounts they have on their credit cards from spending associated with the Rugby World Cup.