Black Friday has evolved from a supplementary to a dominant event in Australia with more retailers offering deals and more shoppers taking advantage of the sales bonanza.

Major retailers across the country enjoyed an uplift in sales following subdued trading over the past few months, sharing their Black Friday and Cyber Monday (BFCM) insights with Appliance Retailer.

Bing Lee general manager, Peter Harris had concerns about BFCM, given the latest interest rate rise and a sluggish few months of trade, but was pleasantly surprised by the results.

“We exceeded last year’s results which is testament to the Bing Lee team and all the hard work they put into the event across the entire business. It also shows what a significant sale event it now is in Australia,” he told Appliance Retailer.

“Both online and in-store sales were up showing consumers still want choice on how and where they shop. Floorcare was strong across all segments with robotic vacuums the stand-out and small appliances saw growth in all sub-categories with beverage, including carbonated systems, performing well.

“I have no doubt the slow sales before BFCM were partly due to cost of living pressures and the overall economy; however, it also looks like consumers were holding back spending for BFCM, with some using the event to buy Christmas gifts or products they would usually wait until Boxing Day to buy.

“TV seems to be one category that may have fuel in the tank for a big Boxing Day sale period. Lower than expected inflation numbers released yesterday might also give consumers a little more confidence to buy extra gifts leading up to Christmas.”

Bi-Rite experienced its biggest Black Friday event to date, in what was described as ‘an amazing result’ given current market conditions by chief operating officer, Hamza Hussein.

“Both in-store and online delivered strong results. Given our regional footprint, we always find our consumers prefer the in-store experience, that being said both in-store and online sales delivered significant increases on last year’s sales,” he said.

“Once again televisions were the star performer, particularly larger screens 65-inch and above, which has been the trend for the last few years. We are quietly confident the remainder of the year will perform well – not to the extent of previous years, but it will still be a strong trading period.”

BSR Group enjoyed increased consumer activity over the BFCM period with equally positive results across both in-store and online channels, with online share increasing as expected.

“We saw plenty of interest right across the board, with TVs, small appliances, floorcare and whitegoods all performing well,” chief customer officer, Adrian Mitchell told Appliance Retailer.

“With the Black Friday sales event continuing to grow, there has been concern about how it impacts December trade for several years now. Naturally, we will be keeping a close eye on this, however consumers have a history of still spending coming into Christmas and Boxing Day and we don’t foresee this being any different this year.”

Black Friday was the second-biggest trading day ever for digiDirect, only marginally behind Black Friday last year.

“While macroeconomics didn’t seem to influence Black Friday itself, the days leading into it and following it have been a little softer than last year, with our analysis of online search, browsing and conversion data suggesting there are fewer customers at the decision stage of their purchasing process, particularly on larger ticket items,” general manager, Haig Kayserian said.

“In-store was the ‘man of the match’ this Black Friday, with our seven locations across New South Wales, Victoria, Queensland and Western Australia collectively achieving our best ever day in physical retail.

“Several stores broke their own records, with our dedicated staff keeping their doors open until customers’ appetite for shopping eventually dissipated. As expected, online was still our biggest individual store, far exceeding total in-store revenue and achieving thousands of orders that led to our head office team joining our warehouse crew at digiDirect’s fulfillment centre for a Friday evening power session of picking and packing.

“Our most popular categories were mirrorless cameras and lenses, video imaging devices, drones, computer and gaming monitors, laptops, streaming audio and microphones, and mobile phones, with Apple rising rapidly in brand rankings within our business thanks to high sales of everything from iPhones to Macs to Airtags.

“The great unknown is how this sale period will impact the lead-up to Christmas. Anecdotally, many shoppers in digiDirect stores and online did share that they were doing their Christmas shopping early, which makes sense considering the deals on offer. However, we are stocking up, working with our partners and preparing for a solid lead-up to Christmas and another exciting Boxing Day sale to round out 2023 and ring in 2024.”

To date, Leading Edge Group has reported comparable BFCM sales compared to last year.

“The week before Black Friday our members with online stores had a pick-up of general foot traffic, not necessarily related to deals and offers – more so customer enquiries looking for particular products. We believe the Black Friday buzz has driven people to browsing online and stumbling on other items of interest,” chief operations officer, Charlie Davey told Appliance Retailer.

“The usual categories got the focus including TVs, audio and coffee machines, but we also saw positive interest in vinyl products, on the back of big releases from Taylor Swift and the Beatles.

“I don’t think BFCM will have a huge impact on Christmas and Boxing Day trade – no different to last year. I think in other sectors and industries such as apparel, with many brands offering 40% off everything, shoppers would have purchased early.”

According to Videopro CEO, Cameron Douglas, BFCM numbers were slightly down on last year but it was a strong sales period year-to-date. 

“Sales were evenly spread over several days, rather than just one big day – Black Friday or Cyber Monday with in-store and online sales faring similarly. The product mix was spread across multiple categories, particularly imaging, home theatre and soundbars – not just big screen TVs, which was the trend last year,” he said.

“Black Friday has taken the mantle from Boxing Day so we expect a good Boxing Day, but not in the same league as Black Friday.”