Black Friday is off and running today and while Australians weren’t sitting down for Turkey lunches yesterday, there’s still a sizeable cohort of shoppers looking for a bargain.
The increasing prevalence of the American born shopping holiday Down Under has raised more than a few eyebrows. There’s also concern that discount fatigue is already setting in with shoppers ahead of Christmas.
Nevertheless, myriad Aussie brands like Myer, David Jones, Amazon, Apple, eBay and Cotton On are getting onboard with November discounting, with Aussies tipped to spend $320 million.
For Geelong-based Cotton On, the rising popularity of the holiday has made participation a no-brainer, with online sales expected to increase 10-fold over the coming weekend, which will be capped off by Cyber Monday next week.
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Brendan Sweeney, Cotton On Group’s general manager of e-commerce, says Christmas shopping is starting as early as mid-October these days, as up to 70% of customers express an interest in buying gifts online.
“Cyber Weekend presents a key opportunity for them to make serious headway in ticking off purchases from their Christmas present list,” he tells SmartCompany.
Cotton On will process about 14,000 orders every day from its Avalon distribution centre over the weekend, but Cyber Monday is tipped to be the peak for the business as shoppers get in on last minute deals.
What’s on trend? Several weeks ago owners told SmartCompany that personalisation was going to be king over the holiday discounting period.
Cotton On will be no different, Sweeney says, with personalised products tipped to be a big winner for the business as it looks to stand out from the crowd, while providing added convenience to customers by offering handwritten messages on gifts.
Perhaps due to the prevalence of Amazon on Black Friday or just the growing importance of online shopping, the Black Friday weekend has emerged as an e-commerce led shopping holiday in Australia, rather than traditional American “doorbuster” deals in store.
Amazon itself is going to offer Aussies access to its American platform this weekend, having decided to backflip on an earlier decision to geo-lock shoppers due to low-value GST reforms.
However, according to Australia Post, which is responsible for actually delivering many of the purchases made this weekend, shipping speed is emerging as a deciding factor for shoppers.
The government-owned postie has invested an additional $300 million in its delivery network to cater for parcel volumes over the holidays, with online shopping growing by about 20% in the last twelve months.
A study conducted for AU Post by Pacific Consulting Group has found that while 55% of retailers are offering shoppers a choice of shipping speed, only 15% are offering same day shipping.
AU Post’s chief operating officer Bob Black said the growing prevalence of Black Friday and Cyber Monday underlined a desire for impulse shopping to translate into speedy delivery.
“Speed of shipping is a big driver for sales through eCommerce merchants. What this study shows is that more eCommerce merchants could be offering an express shipping option to their customers, especially as take-up during online shopping events such as Black Friday and Cyber Monday grows, and of course, through the peak Christmas shopping period,” Black said in a statement.