The majority of Australian consumers will avoid shopping in stores this Black Friday, instead taking advantage of deals online, according to consumer research commissioned by Emarsys. 

The research indicates that Black Friday 2020 is set to be the biggest year on record for online retail traffic. Among the more than 1,000 consumers across Australia surveyed who say they will be shopping for Black Friday deals, less than one in 10 (9.5%) will head in-store, while 30% will buy from brands online.

Almost one quarter of consumers indicated they would be avoiding in-store shopping during Black Friday sales because of COVID-19, while 18% are planning to avoid in-store due to crowds.

Emarsys managing director for Asia Pacific, Adam Ioakim said this Black Friday is set to see unprecedented enthusiasm, accelerated by COVID-19, Federal tax cuts and changing consumer shopping habits.

“Savvy retailers will be looking to exploit the growing e-commerce sector to counterbalance the expected drop in bricks and mortar revenue this year. By collecting and analysing online customer data to offer personalised offers, retailers can convert one-time customers into brand loyalists,” he said.

The strongest motivations for shopping online included free delivery and the size of the discount, with 59% and 58% of consumers claiming these as key influences. Other powerful motivators included free returns (15%) and speed of delivery (18%).

“Retailers have a significant opportunity this Black Friday to use incentives such as free delivery and returns to attract and retain newly acquired customers who have extra cash to spend due to recent Federal Government tax cuts,” Ioakim added.

“Likewise, retailers that wish to safely entice customers back into stores can use customer data to drive click-and-collect sales and provide personalised discounts.”

Despite concerns around the economy, around 56% of consumers said they will spend either the same or more this Black Friday than in previous years. Moreover, around 40% are planning to spend between $100 and $300.

“Planning for Black Friday needs to start now. Retailers must ensure that their website, apps and backend infrastructure are optimised to avoid any glitches on the day and ensure they can capitalise on collecting customer data insights that can be turned into business outcomes,” Ioakim concluded.

When asked what they will be buying on Black Friday this year — online or in store — 58% of consumers said clothing, while 46% said electronics and 29% said beauty products. Household appliances came in at 25%, toys at 21% and furniture at 11%.