NAB: ‘Black Friday’ online sales up 62 per cent

Australians are embracing “Black Friday” as an online shopping event as the day of deals goes global, a new report has found.

NAB’s Online Retail Sales Index for November found that online retail sales were up 62 per cent over the month, compared to the same sales event in 2019.

“From a shaky start earlier in the decade, this sales event day appears to be growing,” NAB economists Alan Oster and Brien McDonald wrote.

“The event has been gaining momentum since 2015.”

The key drivers of overall sales growth on the day were homewares, appliances, and sales of department store, personal and recreational goods, NAB found.

“It is likely that these sales events are shifting the period when sales occur, without adding to total sales,” NAB said.

The survey comes a day before the Australian Bureau of Statistics releases its own retail data for November, in which an expected 0.4 per cent rise would break seven straight months of figures that have failed to beat consensus.

Held each year on the fourth Friday in November, Black Friday began in the United States decades ago as a shopping event for the day after Thanksgiving, a major US holiday.

With the rise of e-commerce it has been spreading around the world in recent years, with adoption in South America, China, the United Kingdom and parts of Europe.

NAB’s index measured Black Friday Australian sales by using personal transaction data from NAB platforms and scaling them up so they are representative of the entire Australian economy.

Overall NAB found that online retail sales were up 2.4 per cent in November month-on-month, and were up 9.6 per cent year-on-year.

In the 12 months to November, Australians spent $30.14 billion on online retail, up 9.4 per cent from the same 12 months ending November 2018.

Online retail sales for those 12 months to November were 9.2 per cent of all retail sales, NAB estimated.

The biggest growth in online sales has been in takeaway food, with the rise of Uber Eats, Menulog and Deliveroo and Doordash.

Online takeaway sales are up 90.1 per cent year-on-year, but given the small cash value of these sales they make up just 3.7 per cent of all online retail spending, NAB said.

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