Australian small retailers have expressed disappointment over the annual Black Friday sales, claiming they can’t compete with the discounting tactics of local and international big-box retailers.
As America raked in record sales over Black Friday and Cyber Monday, Australian retailers have been left playing catch-up, with retail management platform, Vend, claiming in-store spending actually dropped by 13 percent when compared to 2017. Vend has also recorded a 12 percent drop in discounting levels for the week of Black Friday and Cyber Monday, indicating increased pressure on local retailer’s margins as November becomes a big month for online sale events.
However, despite an apparent drop in YOY sales, Vend does say that the peak November shopping calendar has given small-to-medium and independent retail stores across the country a small boost in sales, with spending increasing by 12 percent over the weekend, when compared to previous weeks in October and November.
“There have been reports that Black Friday weekend has now become the biggest trading period of the year. This may well be true for big-box stores and major online retailers, but our data shows this doesn’t necessarily translate for smaller businesses,” says Dave Scheine, APAC country manager for Vend.
“Shoppers have still been splashing the cash – or credit – over Black Friday this year, but they need to also be mindful to support local, alongside looking for online and big-box deals. It’s notoriously hard for independent retailers to compete on price, although many are still doing this – for example over the weekend home and lifestyle stores ramped up their discounting by over 200 percent.”
Across key retail categories, Vend says the home, lifestyle and gifts retail sector experienced the biggest boost in sales at 21 percent, with a discounting increase of 240 percent, while the sports, hobbies and toys category increased discounting efforts by 17 percent and experienced a seven percent drop in sales.
Health and beauty and fashion and apparel also experienced small revenue boosts at 18 and 17 percent respectively.
The increased discounting pressure associated with big pre-Christmas sales events, starting with Click Frenzy in Australia, followed by Black Friday and Cyber Monday has put extra pressure on local small retailers to pick-up their online and in-store discounting game, with Kate Vandermeer from TheSuperCool saying she can’t match the discounts offered by big businesses. However, she does note that offering free shipping did result in a boost in sales.
For TheSuperCool, November and December continues to be the business’s biggest sales period, with approximately 30 to 50 percent of the company’s annual revenue coming from the peak holiday shopping period.