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What to expect from Cyber Week 2021

Australians are expected to spend big this Cyber Week, according to data from Commonwealth Bank that found sales through the weekend have risen between 10 and 14 per cent annually for the past three years.

And, given how many Australians have become comfortable spending online compared to previous years, e-commerce spend is expected to hit $2 billion of the $5.6 billion total anticipated, according to the NRA.

The Cyber Week sales event, which includes Black Friday and Cyber Monday, has begun to mark the beginning of the holiday season, according to CBA’s head of consumer and diversified industries Jerry Macey,

“Shoppers around the country are increasingly taking advantage of the recent move towards pre-Christmas discounting, and we would expect this trend to continue this year,” said Macey.

“It also presents an opportunity for retailers to bring forward sales, optimise their inventory and enhance performance for the year if they manage these sales events well.”

On some measures, Black Friday has taken over Boxing Day as the most popular shopping event of the year for Australians, according to Boston Consulting Group.

And, given the logistical and delivery issues that have plagued Australian retail throughout the pandemic, NRA chief executive Dominique Lamb said the coming weekend will be a great opportunity for Australians to get all of their online shopping done well ahead of Christmas – leaving ample time for goods to be delivered.

“With the delivery system under strain consumers shouldn’t be waiting until the last minute to make online Christmas purchases,” Lamb said.

“There are many outstanding offers on products across the retail sector, both in-store and online. It’s the perfect opportunity for shoppers to support Australian retailers, make inroads into Christmas shopping and cash in on bargain prices.”

These ‘outstanding offers’ will be monitored by consumer watchdogs, however, to ensure retailers are not raising prices in the weeks prior to sales to give the impression of larger discounts.

New Zealand’s Commerce Commission said it will be coming down hard on retailers that practice price modulation, as well as those that fail to reimburse shoppers when they buy something the retailer is already sold out of, and those that use fine print to change the meaning of attention-grabbing offers.

Is there a better way?

While Black Friday is regularly seen as a fantastic way to shore up sales ahead of the holiday season, which is already the busiest time of the year for retailers, some brands are trying to find ways of turning the shopping event into an opportunity to do some good.

Some brands connect the sales event with a social campaign to reach the growing number of shoppers who tie their purchasing behaviour to their core beliefs. For example, this year Hype DC is launching its Bark Friday Sale, which will celebrate dogs and lead to an unspecified donation to RSCPA in Australia and SPCA in New Zealand.

Brands such as Allbirds, Deciem and Patagonia regularly sit Black Friday sales out, while others actively spread an anti-Black Friday message in order to encourage customers to think purchases through.

For example, ReleaseIt co-founder Peter Krideras is launching Green Friday: a shopping event which takes place over the same weekend and instead aims to promote considered purchases rather than the unnecessary spending and waste brought on by impulse buying.

“We’re not telling people not to shop, we’re just telling them there’s a different and better way to shop,” Krideras told Inside Retail.

“We’re asking people to take a breath; have a think about why you’re shopping.”

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