The Australian Retailers Association (ARA) teamed with Roy Morgan Research to predict that Australians would spend $5.4 billion from Black Friday to Cyber Monday.

A cautious estimate as it turned out. According to merchant transaction analysis conducted by the NAB bank, Aussies splashed out $8 billion over the four day long weekend. A final tally that exceeded the predictions by $2.5 billion and also broke 2019’s pre-pandemic record by 8 per cent.

The major winners in-store were technology retailers with sales surging 168 per cent over 2019 figures. Shoes sales rose 92 per cent, followed by clothing – up 54 per cent – and jewellery purchases – up 49 per cent.

Prior to the annual retail blowout, overall online sales remained strong in October, even though consumers returned to bricks-and-mortar stores in large numbers, said Paul Zahra, CEO of the ARA.

Online sales represented 13.2 per cent of total retail spending in October, down from a high of 15.3 per cent in September, he noted.

“It’s no surprise to see a slight drop in the proportion of online spending for October, given the Delta lockdowns came to an end in NSW, Victoria and the ACT and people returned to physical stores. The overall trend though for online sales remains incredibly strong, up 33.8 per cent compared to the same time last year.

“We are continuing to see a lot of pent-up demand for shopping across Sydney, Melbourne and Canberra with people back out and about in great numbers supporting their local businesses, which is great to see. We’re coming off a record-breaking Black Friday, well above expectations.”

Andrew Irvine, Group Executive for NAB’s Business and Private Banking, confirmed that business is absolutely up and running again. “Black Friday and Cyber Monday are now a strong part of the sales calendar here in Australia. We’ve talked so much about the pivot to digital but it’s clear that the groundwork laid by businesses over the past two years has positioned them well  to capitalise on these sales events.

“For so many of us though, nothing beats the actual experience of walking into a store and being able to try out the product in person.”

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