Wednesday, 3 Mar 2021

Black Friday: Are Kiwis planning to spend big or give it a miss?

Coming off the back of a tough year, the retail industry will be hoping to make as much as it can on Black Friday and the sales events that follow it.

But are Kiwis interested? And, more importantly, are they willing to open their wallets this year?

Research out today suggests that the shopping event imported from the United States is expected to reach new highs this year.

Notorious for deep discounts, Black Friday falls the day after Thanksgiving and is typically marked through the weekend and into “Cyber Monday”.

Black Friday has been picking up in popularity among New Zealand shoppers for a number of years and it is considered to mark the start of the all-important Christmas trading period.

Research from price comparison website PriceSpy shows that Covid-19 is not deterring Kiwis from planning to hit the shops on Black Friday next week, and it remains one of the most popular shopping days of the year.

Just over 40 per cent of shoppers still plan to shop in-store this Black Friday, while a third said they will shop online and 24 per cent will shop across both channels.

About 65 per cent of Kiwis splurged out on Black Friday deals last year, spending up to $300 on the day. This was up from 56 per cent of Kiwis the year before.

In the survey, 31 per cent of Kiwis said they planned to spend more than $300 on Black Friday this year, while 20 per cent said they intended to spend more than $500. Overall, Kiwis expect to spend an average of $460.

“Our survey insights suggest Kiwis are looking to make the most of Black Friday savings this year, with shoppers spending bigger sums of money,” Liisa Matinvesi-Bassett, New Zealand country manager for PriceSpy, said.

“Despite being in a recession, we believe this growth in expected spending may be down to the fallout caused by Covid-19.”

Matinvesi-Bassett said the intention to spend up large during Black Friday this year was likely driven by the potential for cost-savings and the result of lockdowns restricting buying power and celebrations having been put on hold throughout the year.

The spend on Christmas this year could also be higher than usual as a result, she said.

“Even though shoppers are looking to spend big, we must remember the pandemic has added a lot of uncertainty to 2020, not least for retailers having to navigate multiple lockdowns, disrupted supply chains and distribution channels. As a result, there’s every possibility Black Friday prices could be affected this year – so we strongly recommend shoppers do their price research.”

Tim Dorrian, managing director of Wellington-based digital marketing agency Aro Digital, said early indications show that this Black Friday would be the country’s biggest yet.

According to insights from Aro Digital, in 2016 there were only 50,000 Google searches related to Black Friday in New Zealand. Last year, however, there were 200,000.

“There’s been a massive increase in the amount of interest in Black Friday over the past four years, and initial signs show that the number of searches in November are going to be bigger than 2019,” Dorrian told the Herald.

“E-commerce spend is continuing to increase year-on-year and what I think we’ll see is that will peak and hit another new high for this year’s Black Friday.”

In recent months the organisation had tracked a spike in searches for Buy NZ Made following the onset of Covid-19, Dorrian said he expected a significant amount of purchases on Black Friday to be from local retailers as opposed to, traditionally, the big players.

“I think the difference this year is going to be that people are looking for Black Friday deals from local suppliers rather than what we typically see as massive increases from Amazon, eBay and some of the big international retailers.”

The highest proportion of searches for Black Friday so far this year is Southland, followed by Auckland and Gisborne, while Nelson is the region least interested in the sales event.

Black Friday typically sees huge increases in interest for tech products, followed by apparel.

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