Black Friday spend predicted to reach $1 billion in Australia

Australian consumers are expected to spend $1 billion online from Friday, November 23, to Monday, November 26, the four-day period known as Black Friday/Cyber Monday, according to CashRewards.

CashRewards founder and retail expert Andrew Clarke expects sales over the four-day period to nearly double last year’s figures. This equates to an estimated $1.3 billion in online spending, with the average spend per consumer expected to be $263, according to Black Friday Global.

In the US, where the Black Friday sales event originated, GlobalData Retail managing director Neil Saunders projected that total spending would rise by 5.7 per cent over 2017 to US$59.6 billion ($82.38 billion) – the highest growth since 2011.

“Online is taking a greater share of sales this year than last, with spend set to grow by 33 per cent. Stores will also see growth, but at a more muted 1.9 per cent,” Saunders said.

“Both rates of increase are the highest for at least the past five years.”

According to Numerator, 2018 has seen larger discounts across every category surveyed for the period, such as entertainment (34.5 per cent to 40.3 per cent), jewelry (62.9 per cent to 67.3 per cent) and women’s outerwear (56.8 per cent to 66.1 per cent).

Highs and lows

The increasing popularity of Black Friday/Cyber Monday sales in Australia can be seen in the record-breaking $5 million in sales that Catch saw on Friday, topping the company’s previous single-day sales record record of $3 million.

It can also be seen in the crash of JB Hi-Fi’s website on Friday, when servers proved unable to cope with high volumes of traffic.

“Yep. People want the goods. Our IT team is trying to get our servers together,” the company tweeted on 1.19 pm Friday, before getting the issue resolved by 4.13 pm.

According to IBISWorld senior industry analyst James Thompson, a crashed website during a peak sales event such as Black Friday runs the risk of disappointing consumers.

“This can both adversely affect sales, and leave consumers frustrated, with the potential to reduce consumer participation,” Thompson said.

Video games popular on Amazon

Online marketplace Amazon, which held its first Black Friday event in Australia this year, noted a distinct trend in the purchase of entertainment and video game items.

“Customers have snapped up deals across the board with video games and games consoles being the best-selling of all the deals on the first day of our Black Friday Deals Event,” Amazon Australia country manager Rocco Braeuniger said.

According to Amazon, the top deal over the period was “save 35 per cent off select video games,” with the best-selling video game being the recently released Red Dead Redemption II, followed by a discounted Nintendo Switch gaming console.

This trend translated into the toy category as well, with the Fortnite Edition Monopoly board game being the best-selling toy on Amazon for the period.

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