Black Friday is here! Retail sales jump in October

Highlights

  • The retail sales surged by 4.9 per cent month-on-month in October.
  • The Commonwealth Bank of Australia expects the country to witness bumper Black Friday shopping.
  • The Black Friday sales could exceed December’s Christmas sales, with people shopping for the approaching holiday season in advance.

A crucial economic data on retail trade is out on the much-awaited Black Friday sale day. Interestingly, retailers remain poised for a busy season ahead, as early signs of a retail frenzy are kicking in across Australia. The reopening of lockdowns has been contributing greatly to the ongoing retail surge observed across parts of the country.

The latest data from the Australia Bureau of Statistics (ABS) suggests a rise in retail trade for the second time in a row in the country during last month. The data points to the much-needed boost to the Australian economy that has emerged with the reopening of lockdowns.

The recent statistics reveal that retail trade surged 4.9 per cent on a month-on-month basis in October. In fact, the last month’s retail sales were 5.2 per cent higher than those of October 2020. This was the second consecutive monthly incline after retail trade jumped 1.3 per cent in September, month-on-month. Prior to that, retail trade had shown a slowdown of 1.7 per cent in August due to lockdowns.

One can see a close connection between an improvement in retail statistics and the lifting of lockdown restrictions. The data validates that the border closures and lockdowns had a significant impact on retail businesses earlier. Though the data shows substantial improvement, it is still not close to the levels seen prior to the Delta variant hitting Australia.

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What to expect from Black Friday?

Expectations around the number of Black Friday shoppers are riding high, with multi-billion-dollar sales anticipated in this crucial season. The National Retailers Association has estimated that Australia could witness AU$5.6 billion in retail sales during the Black Friday-Cyber Monday weekend. This represents an increase of 8 per cent over the previous year’s sales during the same period.

The large uptick in sales is likely to help shop owners recoup some part of the losses incurred by retailers during mid-2021 when the Delta variant was at its peak. In fact, estimates from the nation’s largest banks also reaffirm increased spending during the sale period amid booming consumer and business confidence.

Bumper shopping expected on Black Friday

National Australia Bank (NAB) estimates that almost AU$1 million would be spent each minute during the sales. Meanwhile, the Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CBA) also expects Australia to witness a bumper Black Friday shopping weekend. The bank has been looking at previous merchant data to get a sense of expected sales in 2021. The bank found out that sales during Black Friday weekend in 2020 were 14 per cent higher than the previous week, despite the outbreak of the pandemic. Moreover, the sales surged by 10 per cent in 2020 over this weekend relative to 2019.

This shows that shoppers have increasingly become invested in the Black Friday shopping spree with each passing year.

RELATED READ: What's pumping up Australia's consumer confidence?

Aussies to shop for Christmas

For a long period, the month of December has been associated with hefty shopping bills as Australians prepare for Christmas shopping. However, with consumerism on the rise, retailers have collectively decided on a day where they can offer large discounts to buyers. This day is now known throughout the world as Black Friday.

Christmas shopping frenzy set to grip markets early.

Additionally, retail firms have increasingly become integrated with technology and now offer their products and services online. The shift to the online realms became especially pronounced during the COVID-era, when individuals were locked within the four walls of their homes. Thus, the concept of Cyber Monday is perfect for those still apprehensive about large gatherings.

These major shifts in the way of conducting business have created a large audience that is wholeheartedly invested in these discounts. Individuals carry out their Christmas shopping needs one month in advance, making November sales higher than the sales typically seen in December. In conclusion, this year’s Black Friday weekend is expected to see the perfect mix of buyers, including those who would be on a Christmas shopping spree and those who would want to satiate their pent-up shopping needs.

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