Retailers kick off Black Friday sales early, extend discounts later this year

EBay is kicking off Black Friday, the annual US sales event which has become increasingly popular in Australia, a few days early.

While most retailers will offer discounts starting on Friday, November 23, the online marketplace has already slashed prices on a range of technology products.

Customers could save hundreds of dollars on products including Samsung smartphones, Dyson vacuum cleaners and Garmin GPS devices as early as Monday, November 19.

EBay is also honouring its ‘Best Price Guarantee’ on all Black Friday deals, which means customers can expect to pay 5 per cent less for a product on eBay than anywhere else online, or receive a voucher for the difference.

According to US-based market intelligence firm, Numerator, which studied daily pricing on over 1000 products on Amazon, Walmart, Target and Best Buy’s e-commerce sites in 2017, prices were lower on Black Friday than any other day in November and December.

Black Friday originated as a US retail event. The sale has traditionally been held the day after the American holiday of Thanksgiving, which always occurs on the fourth Thursday in November. Many people have the day off and choose to get a head start on their Christmas shopping. But thanks to the rise of e-commerce, consumer awareness of Black Friday has grown in Australia, and recent years have seen local retailers participate in increasing numbers.

At the same time, the sale has evolved from a bricks-and-mortar only event, to an omnichannel event, with the line between offline Black Friday sales and online Cyber Monday sales becoming increasingly blurred. Many retailers now participate in a massive four-day shopping event across their store network e-commerce site.

Delivery company CouriersPlease (CP) recently revealed that parcel delivery volumes grew 10 per cent around Black Friday and Cyber Monday in 2017, compared to 2016. The company expects delivery volumes this year to be bigger again, as more local retailers participate and awareness grows among local consumers.

“We have seen an increase in CP’s delivery volumes around this time which accounts for thousands of items being purchased, and we expect this number to consistently grow as the shopping event becomes more established in our market,” CP spokesperson Jessica Ip said.

Some retailers, like Lovehoney, are extending their Black Friday deals even further. The global online adult toy and lingerie brand kicked off its Black Friday sale last Friday, November 16, and is offering the discounts through Wednesday, November 28.

Amazon’s first Black Friday sale in Australia

Amazon on Tuesday announced that it will hold its first ever Black Friday sale in Australia this week, offering deals on a range of items from Friday, November 23 through Monday, November 26.

Discounted products include electronics Amazon’s own Fire TV, Echo Plus and Dot devices, as well as PlayStation consoles, robotic vacuum cleaners and Bose products.

The online retailer is offering ‘lightning’ deals and ‘deals of the day’, which are limited-time offers, to drive traffic to the site throughout the four-day sales event.

Since launching in December of last year, Amazon said it has grown its range to over 80 million products across 27 categories.

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