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Two thirds of Aussies “always” looking for a sale: PayPal

When Accent Group posted $32.2 million in first-half profit in February, chief executive Daniel Agostinelli attributed it to the company’s commitment to stop discounting.

Other retailers, including Myer, have also talked about reducing their reliance on markdowns to generate more profitable sales.

But while this strategy sounds good in theory, it is often hard to execute in light of the fact that consumers by and large love sales and discounts, and the rise of e-commerce has made it easier for them to hunt down a bargain.

According to PayPal’s 2019 “Trends Report”, released on Tuesday, 68 per cent of Australian consumers are always on the lookout for an online sale or discount, and half of consumers have waited for an item to go on sale before buying it online.

This figure increases to 73 per cent for Gen Z, and 65 per cent for millennials, and 16 per cent of consumers say they only shop online when items are on sale.

The most popular windows to shop online for bargains are Boxing Day and End of Financial Year, followed by Black Friday, which is ahead of the home-grown ‘Click Frenzy’ sale event. Amazon Prime Day is currently the least popular sale event, though that could change, seeing as Amazon has only been operating in Australia for around 18 months.

Australia’s biggest sales periods by consumer participation, PayPal

Boxing Day Sales 44% 
End of Financial Year 44% 
Black Friday 33% 
Mid-Season Sales 33% 
January Sales 21% 
Click Frenzy 17% 
Cyber Monday 17% 
Back-to-School 11% 
AfterYay 6% 
Amazon Prime Day 6% 

According to the report, consumers are more likely to participate in sale periods than retailers, with 73 per cent of the former participating, compared to 59 per cent of the latter.

Peter Cowan, PayPal’s director of mid-market and small business partners, said there are benefits to participating in sale events, even though discounting may be a challenge for retailers.

“We found that over a third of Australians (37 per cent) have bought a brand online they wouldn’t usually buy because it was on sale, which is huge for smaller retailers wanting to build brand awareness and win new customers,” Cowan said in a statement.

According to the report, in the last quarter alone, the average shopper bought 2.7 impulse items and spent $108 on unplanned purchases because they saw items on sale.  Millennials were the biggest impulse spenders, buying an average of 3.6 unplanned items at a cost of $145 in the last three months. 

In addition, 53 per cent of retailers said sales help them to attract new customers, and 39 per cent said online sales increase revenue.

Just under half of all sale shopping (49 per cent) now occurs, though around two thirds of younger consumers, including millennials and Gen Z, prefer to shop the sales online. This means retailers need to be thinking digital first, according to Cowan.

“If you’re on sale – you’ve got to be online and mobile-optimised, particularly if you’re targeting youth markets, where the majority do their online sale shopping via mobile,” he said.

“Retailers should also think outside of the traditional sales periods and consider offering their customers personalised discounts throughout the year.”

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