Black Friday spending tops $7 billion in Australia

New NAB transaction data shows Australians spent an estimated $7.1 billion across this year’s four-day Black Friday and Cyber Monday shopping event, with spending up 20% compared with the week prior.

A few years ago, Black Friday wasn’t even a thing in Australia, now it unofficially kicks off the Christmas shopping season.

It’s a sale period that originated in the US and refers to sales that take place the day after Thanksgiving. It marks the start of the Christmas shopping season for Americans and, like Australia’s Boxing Day sales, creates large scale hysteria in malls across the US.

It was first launched in Australia back in 2018 and bombed for Australian drinks retailers. Specialty food and drink retailers reported no uplift in sales during that first shopping event.

Across the board, sales actually dropped by 13% compared to 2017. There was speculation that it was because Black Friday had very different connotations in Australia due to bushfires, also that it was being lumped with Halloween by shoppers and regarded as an American affectation.

However, in 2022 Black Friday is definitely a thing.

NAB Executive for Small Business Ana Marinkovic said: “Each year the deals get bigger and better, with many Australians waiting for the American inspired Black Friday and Cyber Monday discounts before doing their gift shopping.”

The NAB data also shows Australians preferred online shopping to brick and mortar stores, with online spend up 24% and spend at physical terminals up 11% on the week prior.

Broken down by state, the biggest increases in spend were seen in Victoria and Tasmania, up 20%, followed by ACT and WA – up 17% and 12% respectively.

A national survey of Australians by McCrindle found that:

  • 88% of Australians said they had heard of Black Friday
  • One in two (50%) planned to check out the sales (up from two in five 40% the year prior)
  • 39% said they plan out what they want to buy in the Black Friday sales
  • Two in five (41%) agreed that they use Black Friday to kick start their festive shopping
  • Although 71% said they enjoy the in-person shopping experience, 43% said they would be doing their shopping online.

“The speed at which Black Friday and Cyber Monday have gained traction in Australia has been remarkable,” said Mark McCrindle.

Engagement with Black Friday is also being driven by younger Australians, who were more likely to have said they would planned to advantage of or at least check out the sales compared to their older counterparts (71% Gen Z and 68% Gen Y, cf. 50% Gen X, 25% Baby Boomers and 15% Builders). It is Australia’s younger generations that are the most tuned in to American cultural trends and global retail and so aware of and planning for Black Friday.

These younger consumers are also savvy online shoppers and similarly much more likely to participate in Cyber Monday sales.

“Over the next decade, as these emerging generations become the mainstream consumers, these sale days that emerged in the US, will likely become Australia’s biggest retail days,” McCrindle predicts.

Black Friday big with Dan Murphy’s shoppers

Managing Director of Dan Murphy’s Agi Pfeiffer-Smith told the Australian Financial Review that Black Friday and Cyber Week sales where special deals were pounced on in its stores.

“Everyone is keeping an eye on it,” she said.

She said wine sales had been the highest since the Easter trading week.

Pfeiffer-Smith also noted there was a sense that after three years of restrictions during the pandemic that customers intended to spend up on higher quality beer, wine and spirits for December and January.

“Customers are planning for some big celebrations. They’re planning to indulge still,” she said.

“We’re not really seeing any sign of trading down. All the early indications are good.”

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Categories: Business