Black Friday kicks off Christmas retail

Ulises Izquierdo
(Australian Associated Press)

 

Shopping frenzy is around the corner as Christmas holidays get closer, and Black Friday is expected to kick off an estimated increase in retail sales of almost $53 billion.

Black Friday is a popular sales day in the US, being the first Friday after Thanksgiving and signalling the start of Christmas shopping.

Australian market research company Roy Morgan and the Australian Retailers Association forecast an increase of 2.6 per cent on the $51.4 billion of retail expenditure registered in 2018.

The groups predict $7.6 billion of this total sales number during this year’s Christmas trading period will belong to the “other retailing” category.

This category includes online sales – a main player in Black Friday’s sales.

Google searches for Black Friday in Australia grew from 3 points to a total of 100 in the last month, Google Trends data shows.

“In 2018, Black Friday and Cyber Monday brought spending forward, as the week following the sales saw more products delivered than the first week of December, the usual online shopping peak,” Australian Retailers Association executive director Russell Zimmerman said.

“Many Australians are no longer waiting until Boxing Day for a bargain, many have written their lists early and jumped online in search of the perfect gift.”

The ARA and Roy Morgan predicted increase of “Other retailing” would mean a 3.7 per cent increase compared to last year’s festive season.

Deloitte’s Christmas Survey 2019 also reveals retailers expect to begin discounting earlier this year, partly due to the impact of Black Friday sales

This survey, however, is not as optimistic about this Christmas season’s total sales, showing that retailers are more pessimistic about this Christmas season than any other since 2013.

Retail trade figures released early in November found that retail spending rose just 0.2 per cent in September, softening from an already underwhelming 0.4 per cent rise in August, even as $22.4 billion in tax refunds flowed into households.

“It’s clearly been a tough year for many retailers,” said Deloitte retail group leader David White.

“So it’s probably no surprise many are also approaching this Christmas with a little less cheer, certainly compared to last year.”

The trend estimate released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics showed a retail trade turnover of 27 billion in September

This meant a 0.2 per cent rise in September that followed a rise of also 0.2 per cent in both July and August.