In recent years Black Friday has evolved from a supplementary to a dominant event for Australian retailers and POS and commerce platform, Lightspeed saw that during Cyber Weekend.

“Many retailers using Lightspeed experienced a jump in customers and transactions over the Cyber Weekend, which provided both a welcome boost in revenue and an opportunity to refine their approach for the rest of peak season,” Lightspeed managing director for Asia Pacific, Andrew Fraser said.

According to Lightspeed research, just over three quarters (76%) of consumers shop in physical stores at least once a month, 45% research a product online and purchase in-store while 17% frequently shop in-store and purchase online.

“To tap into peak season demand, retailers should embrace omnichannel commerce – unifying their in-store and online operations, so they can maximise their reach and make the most of every single interaction,” Fraser said.

“Promoting popular or seasonal products is important, too. Products that were popular during Cyber Weekend and Click Frenzy, will likely still be in demand, so retailers should stock-up on those, and consider how offers and incentives can encourage shoppers.”

Lightspeed research also shows that 39% favour stores with loyalty programs and 15% appreciate buy-now-pay-later options. Over half (53%) consider free returns as standard practice for in-store shopping, so flexible returns are important too.

“While many economists are forecasting a slower-than-usual December, there are still opportunities for retailers to drive gains, if they take the time to understand their customers and what they’re looking for.”

Square and Afterpay sellers hit record 70m transactions

Over the BFCM weekend, millions of Square and Afterpay sellers across the world set a new record with 70 million transactions, up 14% from last year. In Australia, there was a 24% year-on-year increase in transactions over the sales weekend.

In-person shopping increased 26% in Australia, while online cart sizes were four times higher than in-person. Similarly, 11% more businesses leveraged the power of omnichannel by attracting buyers both in-person and online.

BFCM weekend proved to be busy for businesses beyond traditional retail. According to Square data, Australian restaurants experienced a 24% increase in transactions, while 62% more restaurants sent Black Friday and/or Cyber Monday discounts to promote their business.

Square found 117% more beauty and wellness sellers in Australia leaned into the shopping weekend by sending Black Friday and/or Cyber Monday discounts. Considering that in 2022, the most popular time for holiday appointments was December 20 to December 23, beauty sellers used the weekend to promote their services early in the holiday season.

The peak minute of shopping occurred at 11am AEDT on November 24, 2023 and the average discount offered was 31%across all channels,with 63%more sellers offering discounts over the weekend.

Australians proved they want convenience and options with activated subscriptions growing 128%and pre-orders for items leading to transactions being 2.5 times higher than the average Square online order. Gift cards also reigned supreme with more than 50,000 sold, most notably in food and beverage, retail, and beauty and personal care.

Buy Now, Pay Later (BNPL) transactions through Afterpay increased 25%, and Square sellers in Australia saw Afterpay transactions more than double (103%). Outside of fashion and beauty, the largest Afterpay item categories were hardware, home and garden, arts and entertainment, office supplies, and electronics. More consumers turned to the Afterpay app for all their shopping needs, with app usage up 16%. 

The top selling items for Afterpay’s Australian merchants were PlayStation 5 console, Dreamworld annual passes, Nintendo Switch, advent calendars, Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra, Nike men’s shoes, Cotton On license drop short sleeve, Dyson vacuum, Dyson Airwrap and Xbox console.

Shopify reports 24% sales increase over BFCM weekend

Shopify broke records with weekend sales of $9.3 billion USD globally. From the start of Black Friday in New Zealand through the end of Cyber Monday in California, merchants on Shopify generated a 24% increase in sales from Black Friday/Cyber Monday in 2022.

Australia ranked third globally for total sales, behind US and UK and Australian merchant, HiSmile Toothpaste was one of the top 10 products sold globally over BFCM weekend.

The number of consumers in Australia purchasing from Shopify merchants grew 16%over the BFCM weekend in 2022 with 10am AEST on November 24 the peak sales hour.

With an average cart price of $162, the top five product categories by orders were apparel & accessories, health & beauty, home & garden, food & beverages, and electronics. Almost three-quarters (72%) of Australian shoppers purchased on mobile devices with 28% shopping on desktop.

Amazon Australia sales surpass BF 2022

Amazon Australia shared insights into what Australians were adding to their virtual shopping carts across its 14-day sale from Monday 20 November to Sunday 3 December, with deals on products from every category available.

There was a noticeable rise in customers shopping for household staples, with orders within the consumables category increasing from last year’s Black Friday Sale event. This category covers beauty, health & personal care, household & cleaning, pantry food and drink, pet food, and beer, wine and spirits.

For tech enthusiasts, some of the popular brands and products that customers snapped up in the first week included Bose headphones and speakers, Samsung Galaxy devices and accessories, and products from Apple. 

Appliances were high on the list for many, perhaps purchasing for themselves or as gifts ahead of the holidays, with Philips, ECOVACS robot vacuums and robot lawnmowers and Roborock products among the top deals. 

In household essentials, Cold Power washing, Finish dishwashing and Quilton toilet paper products also proved popular, alongside beverages from Pepsi, L’OR, T2 and San Pellegrino. For those with bubs, nappies and baby supplies from brands including Tommee Tippee and Huggies were among the top sellers.

Australians also shopped big on toys, saving on products including LEGO toy sets, Barbie (and Ken) and Picasso Tiles.

Amazon Australia general manager, Matthew Benham said, “This year we offered 14 days of Black Friday deals in response to what we’re hearing from our customers.

“Over the years some of our top deals have been on big ticket items from the likes of Samsung, LEGO, Apple, and Bose, but it isn’t just these big-name brands that have been popular, we’ve also seen everyday essentials are being purchased, so items such as cleaning products, dishwasher tablets, laundry detergent and nappies.

“Australians are smart, savvy people, and we know from our recently commissioned research they’re taking advantage of sale events, like Prime Day, Prime Big Deal Days and Black Friday, to help them with the strain on their budgets. Extending our Black Friday Sale to 14 days allows customers to do their research, and ensure their purchases are the best price and suitable for their needs.”

STRAND sells enough suitcases to fill hundreds of 737 aircrafts

Destination store for bags, STRAND experienced a 53% week-on-week increase in customer foot traffic. STRAND had a record-breaking Black Friday event which increased 18% on last year, making it the strongest event ever for the website. Laura Jones continued to deliver strong results with total sales up 43% on last year.

Over the last two weeks, STRAND has sold over 86,000 suitcases – approximately 434 planes worth of luggage on a 737 aircraft – up 17% on last year.

Retail shift workers not putting in extra hours as shoppers turn online

Deputy has found that shift workers in retail only worked an additional 3.34% more hours over the Black Friday weekend as compared to the weekend prior (17 to 20 November) and 8.24% less hours compared to the last weekend of October (27 to 30 October).

Retail shift workers worked 8.24% less hours than the last weekend of October, indicating that the sales weekend proved to be less busy than an average weekend.

With no significant spike in retail hours worked, attention turns to delivery and postal workers as they look to distribute goods purchased over the weekend. Deputy’s 2022 data indicated that delivery and postal workers worked 20.6% more shifts in the week following Black Friday as compared to the month prior.