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Black Friday kicks off $5 billion weekend

Retailers nationwide are battening down the hatches today, as Black Friday kicks off the beginning of a four day shopping event expected to bring in more than $5 billion in sales.

Last year Cyber Week events grew by 31.6 per cent year on year according to data from Australia Post, and largely merged with the traditional holiday period. And, with 2020 having been the year that it has, an industry-wide shift towards greater online sales could prompt an even bigger shift.

“The growth in online sales has been accelerated by the pandemic, but we’re still expecting to see a lot of action in bricks and mortar stores,” said National Retail Association chief executive Dominique Lamb.

“Digital purchases offer great convenience, but many consumers also crave a more wholesome shopping experience which can only be obtained in store.”

The NRA is expecting total retail spend to hit $5.3 billion for the Cyber Week event, with $1.8 billion to be spent online.

And, though Black Friday is often used by consumers in an attempt to get big ticket items cheaper, many of these purchases have already taken place over the year – with laptops and tablets having been picked up in droves at the beginning of the pandemic.

“This year we’re seeing popularity in other technology products such as connected home devices, headphones and speakers, as well as wearable tech,” Officeworks managing director Sarah Hunter said.

“Customers are that little bit more excited about Christmas this year given the challenging time it’s been for many, so we’re anticipating increased demand for products such as our personalised photo gift range.”

Myer chief customer officer Geoff Ikin said the event was massive for the department store last year, fulfilling more than double the online orders, and that he expects 2020 to be even bigger.

“Black Friday has proven itself as the key pre-Christmas sales event, and we’re seeing more customers utilising it as the perfect time to purchase what they need for Christmas,” Ikin said.

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