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E-commerce

Online retailers report Black Friday boost

Aussie retailers and consumers have reportedly spent over $200 million on Black Friday festivities, with the annual sales event tipped to have exceeded last year’s total earnings.

Online department store Kogan said it recorded $4 million in sales – a record for the e-retailer during the event.

David Wei, co-founder and COO at furniture retailer Brosa offered a free furniture delivery Australia wide that it said ‘gained traction’ with consumers.

We’ve seen double the amount of sales on Black Friday [compared to other Fridays], which is great news,” he said.

“The weekend was also very successful for us, as we have a four-day promotion period, even though it wasn’t a shopping holiday.

“This year Australian consumers have been educated more than ever about Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals. It’s great timing for us as many Aussies are looking at furnishing their homes to be ready for summer entertainment as well as Christmas in the next few months.”

According to data from Finder.com.au, Aussies spent at least $200 million on Black Friday purchases this year.

US retailers offered deep discounts, entertainment and free gifts to lure bargain hunters to Black Friday sales, the traditional start of the holiday retail season, but some shoppers said they were just browsing and will save their cash for online purchases.

The sharp rise in online sales has brightened the overall outlook for traditional retailers that have expanded beyond brick-and-mortar outlets, sending their shares up in day-after-Thanksgiving trading.

There was little evidence of the delirious shopper frenzy customary of previous Black Fridays, despite many shops getting creative with gimmicks and big discounts to draw in customers.

No actual data for Friday’s brick-and-mortar business was immediately available.

Despite anecodotal evidence – like less full carparks and shoppers leaving empty handed – US consumers are still expected to spend more overall this holiday season than last, analysts and industry executives said.

Black Friday online sales totalled at least US$3.54 billion ($4.96 billion) by 8pm (local time) on Friday up 15.6 per cent from a year ago, according to Adobe Analytics, which measures transactions at the largest 100 US web retailers.

On Thanksgiving Day, US shoppers spent more than US$2.87 billion online.

Adobe projects internet sales will still reach a record US$5 billion by the end of the night, with online retailers forecast to rake in an additional US$6.6 billion on Cyber Monday.

Many chains struggled to keep up, with brief online outages experienced by Lowe’s, H&M and the Gap, among others, according to website performance monitors.

Macy’s Inc customers had problems with the retailer’s credit card processing system with the hiccup dragging shares down by 0.6 per cent.

Other major retailers generally traded higher on Wall Street. J.C. Penney climbed 0.6 per cent and Wal-Mart Stores Inc edged upward. Amazon.com Inc closed up 2.6 per cent at a record high.

“The severe price cuts that come with Black Friday have been known to send bargain hunters into chaotic shopping brawls overseas,” said Bessie Hassan, money expert at Finder.com.au.

“While that is the extreme, December is notoriously the most expensive time of year, so these sales are a great opportunity to save on Christmas shopping,” she said.

The comparison site said a national survey of 2,010 respondents revealed that 56 per cent don’t wait for sales and just buy goods or clothing as they need, while 9 per cent prefer to wait for Boxing Day sales.

A further 13 per cent admitted they don’t know what Black Friday is.

“Aussies still see Boxing Day as one of the best days to score the biggest bargains, but we love a sale so I’d expect Black Friday to grow,” Hassan said.

This story first appeared on sister site, Inside Retail Australia.

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