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Click Frenzy crash shows appetite for online shopping events, organiser says

Australian online shopping event Click Frenzy got off to an unexpectedly slow start on Tuesday, when high traffic volumes caused the site to temporarily crash.

Click Frenzy director Grant Arnott said he is still waiting for a full report of what went wrong, but said he believes the site struggled to cope with the “extreme load” of subscribers logging in to access ‘Go Wild’ deals, a new feature intended to give subscribers a “richer” shopping experience this year, he said.

“The new features were well-tested but under extreme load, they were struggling for 15 minutes around the start of the event. After that it was smooth sailing,” he said.

Arnott said the crash was a sign of growing consumer appetite for online shopping events like Click Frenzy. Indeed, Amazon itself struggled to handle the huge amount of traffic on its site during its annual shopping event, Prime Day, in July, which generated over US$4 billion in gross merchandise volume (GMV).

While Arnott is still waiting for independent verification of Click Frenzy’s sales and traffic volumes this year – the sale ended yesterday – he said he anticipates similar results to last year.

Cashrewards, an e-commerce company that offers customers cash back for buying items from major retailers through its site, is expecting to see around $13 million in sales from Click Frenzy, which translates to a total of $540 million in online retail sales, it said.

Last year, Cashrewards saw $6.4 million, which translates to an estimated total of $320 million in online retail sales.

“There has been a seasonal growth in November’s sales events, which means this month has now officially overtaken December as the biggest sales month of the year due to rising popularity in foreign sales days like Singles Day, Click Frenzy, Black Friday and Cyber Monday,” Cashrewards CEO Andrew Clarke explained.

Arnott acknowledged that Click Frenzy now faces stiffer competition for consumer attention, and retailers’ inventories, than in years past. Alibaba recently generated over US$30 billion in GMV during its event on November 11 this year. American shoppers alone spent US$19 billion online over the five days from Black Friday through Cyber Monday in 2017.

Delivery company CouriersPlease (CP) found a 10 per cent increase in parcel delivery volumes around Black Friday and Cyber Monday in Australia last yaer, compared to 2016. It expects delivery volumes this year to be bigger again, as more local retailers participate and awareness grows among local consumers.

“We have seen an increase in CP’s delivery volumes around this time which accounts for thousands of items being purchased, and we expect this number to consistently grow as the shopping event becomes more established in our market,” CP spokesperson Jessica Ip said.

Grant Arnott said the growth of Black Friday and Cyber Monday in Australia was “a positive in some respects”, despite its impact on Click Frenzy.

“In terms of what’s happening in the category, we see consumer appetite for these events growing. It’s already been noted that November is starting to become a bigger retail period than December in the build-up to Christmas, and we feel proud for having been part of [driving] that,” he said.


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