Australian shoppers are used to big sales for Christmas, Boxing Day and New Year. But now retailers are jumping on a bandwagon and joining sales “events” that are bigger and begin earlier in the year.
Black Friday and Cyber Monday have emerged as global shopping extravaganzas, designed to whip consumers into a buying frenzy.
Black Friday is the day after the American holiday of Thanksgiving, which is held on the fourth Thursday of November and celebrates the meal said to be shared between Native Americans and Pilgrim settlers in New England in the early 17th Century.
Like Boxing Day after Christmas, Black Friday is the day Americans open their wallets and go on a shopping spree.
Since the early 1950s, the term “Back Friday” has been synonymous in the United States with massive discounts and doorbuster deals at bricks-and-mortar stores.
When internet shopping gained pace in the early part of this century, the US National Retail Federation coined to term “Cyber Monday” to give consumers the opportunity to keep shopping as they returned to work after the holiday weekend.
The convenience of online shopping and the promise of exclusive web-only deals propelled Cyber Monday into prominence, in America and around the world.
The timing of these events is ideal for people looking to get their Christmas shopping out of the way early and relatively effortlessly.
Whenever you shop, you should do it strategically. With all the hype, it’s all too easy to overspend or be suckered into buying something you don’t really want or need.
Here’s some advice if you want more bang for your buck:
Before the sales begin, create a shopping list of items you want to purchase. Research the prices of these items to determine whether the deals offered during the sales events are genuinely discounted. Be cautious of retailers who inflate prices before offering “discounts”.
Sign up for newsletters, follow your favourite retailers on social media, and enable push notifications from shopping apps. Retailers often provide exclusive deals to their subscribers and followers, and you'll be among the first to know about upcoming sales.
Use online price comparison tools and websites to ensure you're getting the best price for a product. Don't hesitate to check several retailers for the same item to find the most substantial discount.
Set a budget
Determine how much you can afford to spend and stick to it. The excitement of sales can lead to impulsive purchases, so having a budget in place will help you stay disciplined.
During Cyber Monday, retailers typically release new deals at specific times throughout the day. Keep an eye on these schedules to snag the best deals before they sell out.
Online or in-store?
Online shopping offers convenience and access to a broader selection, while in-store shopping allows you to physically examine products and potentially haggle for better deals. Shopping in the sales isn’t for the faint-hearted, so you may want to stay online if you don’t like the crush that can sometimes accompany a big sale.
Check return policies
You don't want to be stuck with something you can't return if it doesn't meet your expectations, so make sure they will replace it or refund your money under those circumstances.
Don’t get caught up in the moment and feel under pressure to buy. Missing out on a deal isn’t the end of the world. There’s always another sale coming up soon.