If you haven’t started thinking about your Christmas grocery list yet, the last weekend in November could be your savior.
Originally a post-Thanksgiving tradition in the US, Black Friday and Cyber Monday have become Australia’s premier online retail events in recent years.
They have become so popular that many retailers have extended their discounts and offers up to a week around the sales event.
According to the Australia Post, international shopping events have grown in popularity in Australia in recent years as shoppers have become more comfortable shopping online.
In 2018, Black Friday sales recorded growth of more than 30 percent year-on-year and this increased to more than 31 percent in 2019.
“Online shopping in Australia has experienced unprecedented growth in 2020, and this is a trend that will continue through the end of the year,” said Australia Post general manager of package and express services, Ben Franzi.
“The upcoming cyber weekend is expected to be the busiest online shopping period so far this year, with even the most conservative forecasts surpassing previous peaks.”
Brick and mortar retailers also tend to cash in on sales, with large department stores and large retailers lowering prices alongside their online competitors.
What is Black Friday? What is Cyber Monday?
Black Friday started out as a sale in the US the equivalent of a Boxing Day sale.
The day after Thanksgiving, Americans would storm stores for bargains.
With the event spreading to international markets, the event is migrating online, but several brands in Australia also host Black Friday sales in their physical stores.
Although Black Friday has been around for decades, Cyber Monday is a relatively new concept that started gaining traction about 15 years ago.
According to CNN, Cyber Monday marks the official start of the holiday shopping season.
When will Black Friday and Cyber Monday occur this year?
This year, they will be held on November 27 and November 30, and depending on the retailer, all days in between as well.
Most of the big names will be taking part, so keep an eye on your social media accounts and store websites for offers.
Are there any downsides to selling online?
It only revolves around the risks associated with in-store shopping in a pandemic, but as retailers have seen all year round, online shopping is a physically much more distant alternative.
According to Australian Retailers Association boss Paul Zahra, Black Friday and Cyber Monday have become “a very important part of the Australian retail calendar”.
“It’s a great opportunity for retailers to sell large quantities of stock in a short period of time and for consumers to get a lot,” he said.
“Every dollar is valuable and can help local retailers get back on their feet, supporting thousands of retail jobs in stores, in warehouses, making deliveries, or anywhere through the retail supply chain.
“We have a great opportunity to find great local stores on our own street or shopping center, and many local retailers have created or increased their online presence during this difficult year.
“We urge shoppers to maintain safety precautions – everyone must cooperate on precautions including social distancing, cleanliness and in-store restrictions – so that we can create a fun and safe Christmas shopping season for everyone.”
Will the purchases be delivered in time for Christmas?
Overall, the answer is yes.
Mr Franzi said Australia Post staff had been “providing this kind of Christmas for months now that the pandemic has brought with it an unprecedented package request”.
“Initially we moved quickly to bring additional facilities online, put more vehicles on the road, and flew 18 special planes, to help compensate for the significant reduction in domestic passenger fighting,” he said.
“We also recently had the largest hiring flash in our history, bringing in more than 5,000 staff by Christmas across processing, shipping, our customer contact centers and the Post Office Network.
“We are working hard to get mail and parcels as safe and fast as possible, but deliveries for Christmas will take longer this year as we manage the impact of COVID-19 and more packages than ever before.
“We will still ship items shipped after these dates as soon as possible, but it will be difficult to get to their destination before Christmas.”
A spokesman for courier company Pack & Send said the weekends of Black Friday and Cyber Monday contributed to an 18 percent surge in e-commerce package shipments last November.
He said ordering international shipments from Canada, the US, UK and major European countries before December 11 would ensure packages arrived before Christmas.
For express courier deliveries, bookings can be made until December 16th.