Retailers have demanded no hikes in excise duty as a survey showed a sixth of motorists plan to Christmas shop across the border.
Retail Ireland said the forthcoming Budget must take steps to boost consumer confidence when VAT jumps by 2%.
Chairman Frank Gleeson maintained decisive action must also be taken by Government to tackle diesel-laundering and tobacco smuggling.
“Retail sales have fallen by over 20% since 2008 due to the recession and price reductions,” he said.
“At the same time the savings ratio has increased from approximately 2% to 12% due to weak consumer confidence.
“The Budget will have an enormous impact on the crucial pre-Christmas shopping period and should contain measures that boost consumer confidence and get people spending again.”
Meanwhile a poll by AA Travel Insurance revealed the VAT increase would sway shoppers to go to the North.
Of 11,500 people surveyed, almost 18% said they were planning to cross the border in the run up to Christmas, up from 16% last year.
The main reasons were to buy alcohol, groceries and gifts.
AA’s Conor Faughan said: “It’s important to remember that if introduced, the higher rate of VAT will also apply to our fuel which is already hovering in and around the €1.50 mark per litre of petrol.”
Elsewhere research from payments technology company Visa Europe showed Irish consumers are set to spend a total of €257m online on gifts in the run up to Christmas – with an average spend of €155 per shopper.
It predicted today is the busiest shopping day online due to the combination of monthly pay days and delivery times.
Conor Langford, vice-president of Visa Ireland, said: “Online shopping continues to soar in popularity in Ireland, with consumers set to pick up a range of goods on the internet for Christmas.
“We would remind shoppers to make sure that they place their orders early to ensure that they receive their goods on time.”