With extended lockdowns and travel restrictions, many Australian consumers have accumulated more savings while forced to cut back on their spending and are chomping at the bit to let the moths out of their purse. That is, if the right bargain comes along.

Retail trade is overall down but in good news for retailers, new Criteo research indicates there’s light at the end of the tunnel, with consumers set to spend more on average during Australia’s largest and upcoming sales period of the year, with Black Friday first off the blocks.

By looking at Australia’s online sales events this year such as the recent End of Financial Year (EOFY) sales, the research reveals Australian shoppers’ average online order value doubled the average during the EOFY sales.

With supply chain chaos and consumers starting their Christmas shopping early as a result, it’s fair to say this year’s shopping frenzy will be like no other. To stay ahead, retailers must adopt or accelerate their online sales and marketing strategies in line with the latest consumer shopping trends – here are a few to keep in mind:

Christmas shoppers start earlier
In light of the current COVID-19 resurgence and lockdowns, shipping delays may just be the grinch that ruins Christmas, with major retailers including Big W anxious they won’t have enough stock for the Christmas period. As consumers plan to shop earlier this year to beat the Christmas rush, retailers need to do the same and market their sales and deals early.

First, make it easy for your customers to find your discounts. Optimise for discount discovery by offering a seamless eCommerce experience across multiple channels including website, email, applications, and social media. When targeting states experiencing lockdowns, update creative to feature activities and products indoors instead of busy spaces, and implement a messaging strategy that talks to their pain points while resonating with their values at Christmas. Myer’s Bigger than Christmas campaign is a strong example of this, encouraging Aussies to celebrate all they’d missed out on due to the pandemic.

Aussies are bargain mad

Criteo’s data indicates Australian consumers are constantly browsing for products and deals. However, it is during key sales periods that consumers actually open their wallets and make a purchase, with Click Frenzy ‘Mayhem’ sales increasing by 49% in May and the EOFY sales increasing by 39% in June*.

More and more Australians are getting on board with sales events such as Black Friday and Cyber Monday where sales have grown steadily from 2019 to 2020. In 2020 alone, Criteo data revealed Black Friday sales increased by 180%, Cyber Monday sales were up 132% and Boxing Day sales increased by 82%+ – and we’re likely to see this uptick again this year.

Staying reactive, listening to customers and utilising customer data to deliver personalised shopping experiences is key to standing out from the noise. If you’re new to this space, the right technology partner like Criteo can help you convert high-intent eCommerce shoppers by promoting the right products and deals at just the right time and in the right format to help boost sales, product visibility, and profits.

Consumers buy more during sales events

Not only are Australians making more purchases during major sales events, but they’re adding more to their cart on average. Criteo’s data shows shoppers’ average online order value almost doubled on Amazon Prime Day (90% increase) and increased by 69% on Click Frenzy ‘Mayhem’ compared to the average*.

It’s important to offer an easy checkout experience by optimising your website with clear shopping categories, easy-to-use filters, and product recommendations to avoid customers feeling overwhelmed or losing interest. Utilising product recommendation technologies will help boost your consumers’ cart sizes by offering relevant product suggestions they may not have considered or discovered before. Are they looking at a new skirt? Show them a top that would look amazing with it. Are they considering a new phone? Suggest they also purchase Bluetooth headphones.

Drawing actionable insights from commerce data is crucial to standing out this Christmas. Consumers are looking for businesses that will make their purchasing journey as seamless as possible, from targeted messaging to personalised advertising to website optimisation. The more you assist your shoppers on their path to purchase, the more likely they are to spend with you – and keep spending.

Colin Barnard is managing director for Australia and New Zealand at Criteo.

*Data was calculated between April 1st and July 16th, 2021, based on 398 of Criteo’s commerce partners and compared with the average calculated from the first two weeks of April.

+ All Retail, Australia. Indexed Daily Sales, compared to average in October 1-28, 2020. Same set of retailers with stable sales tracking during the period in 2019 and 2020. Includes desktop, mobile and app.