Black Friday is expected to overtake Boxing Day as the biggest shopping day of the year in Australia, with apparel and technology topping most shopping lists.
Australians will spend a record $6.2 billion ($4.2 billion) over the Black Friday/Cyber Monday weekend, according to the Australian Retail Association (ARA) and Roy Morgan, while finance comparison site Mozo expects Australians to spend $10.2 billion.
As the cost of living rises and household budgets shrink, nearly half of shoppers will take advantage of the Black Friday sale period to shop for Christmas gifts.
“Boxing Day used to be the most popular sale of the year with retailers offering the biggest discounts, but now Black Friday has to take the top spot and shoppers want to get their gifts at a significant discount before Christmas,” personal finance expert Mozo. Claire Frawley said.
A Commonwealth Bank (CBA) study confirms that Australians have delayed shopping until Black Friday to ease pressure on the cost of living.
Half of shoppers told CBA they want to save money on items they know they need for the New Year, while nearly two in five said they were postponing regular purchases until after the sale because of the cost of living.
“Increased inflation and higher prices are putting pressure on many households, making daily savings a top priority for many Australians. We see people prioritizing essentials, with seven out of ten shoppers planning to buy the essentials or larger items they need in the sales this weekend,” said CBA general manager of shopping Rochelle Eldridge.
“Sales are also a great opportunity to do Christmas shopping or save on larger household expenses.”
ARA CEO Paul Zahra said there were plenty of reasons for retailers to feel confident this year as Australians plan to spend a total of $64 billion ahead of Christmas.
This is especially good news for small businesses, whose cash reserves have dwindled over the past two years.
“We are likely to see continued high retail spending in Australia,” Zahra said. “This is encouraging news given the economic circumstances – most discretionary retailers are making up to two-thirds of their profits during this critical trading period.”
Black Friday growth in Australia
Black Friday originated in the United States and refers to the first Friday after Thanksgiving. It also unofficially marks the start of the Christmas shopping period.
“Black Friday sales are the biggest pre-Christmas event on the retail calendar and continue to grow in popularity in Australia. Starting as an American shopping tradition, Black Friday sales have become a global phenomenon with millions of Australians set to partake,” Zahra said.
“The event is known for having some of the biggest pre-Christmas sales, and this year will be no different. We expect a huge amount of traffic in stores and online.”
Research firm McCrindle found that 88 percent of Australians have heard of Black Friday.
“The speed at which Black Friday and Cyber Monday are gaining momentum in Australia has been astonishing. This momentum and its pre-Christmas position now rivals Boxing Day, which has traditionally been a super sale day in Australia,” said sociologist Mark McCrindle.
More young Australians than older Australians participate in Black Friday sales as they learn more about American cultural trends online.
Younger consumers are also more likely to take part in the Cyber Monday sales.
“Over the next decade, as these new generations become mainstream consumers, these sale days coming to the US are likely to be the biggest retail days in Australia,” McCrindle said.
Meanwhile, the Shop, Distributive and Allied Workers Association (SDA) union joined Amazon’s global Black Friday protests demanding better working conditions and pay.
The SDA alleges that Amazon workers were barred from going to the bathroom during their shift, according to AAP.
“Workers are treated the same as units of trade,” said SDA spokesman Josh Pick. “They are treated like robots.”
Amazon Australia denied the allegations, saying they put people at the center of their operations.
“We offer our fulfillment center workers competitive wages, a safe and supportive work environment, and exciting career opportunities,” said Amazon Australia COO Mindy Espidio-Garcia.
“It is not true that unfair time frames are set for tasks. Our team members are allowed to use the toilet when needed. We don’t track toilet breaks. They can also take short breaks at any time to get water.”