EVEN on the back of a lockdown in 2020, Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales attracted a great deal of interest from Australian shoppers.
Data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics showed a spike in turnover across the country, with consumers taking the opportunity to stock up on household goods, clothing, footwear and personal accessories.
Set to be held on November 26 and November 29, respectively, in 2021, similar conditions are set to prevail at this year's Black Friday and Cyber Monday events. They are two days when businesses offer significant discounts and remarkable deals to entice shoppers to indulge in some serious retail therapy. So why is it that businesses are offering big discounts on these days?
The roots of Black Friday are debated. One theory is that it is a nod to a US financial crisis of 1869 sparked by some ambitious gold speculators, which was described as 'Black Friday'. A more widely accepted story is that it was a term coined by Philadelphia emergency services in the 1960s to describe the day between Thanksgiving and the Army-Navy game held in the city.
It was a huge day for shopping and, as a result, a very busy day for law enforcement, which was responsible for, among other things, controlling traffic.
The day after Thanksgiving remains a huge shopping day in the US - signalling the official start of the Christmas holiday shopping season. It is synonymous with "doorbuster" sales, the kind of specials that saw people lined up ready to charge through the doors on the opening bell.
And it has spread throughout the decades to other countries, for whom Thanksgiving is not a national holiday. In Australia, it is a day perfectly positioned to start the run into the year's biggest gift-giving event, Christmas.
Stores in Oz have adopted the tradition of offering discounts on a range of items, and while COVID-19 may have spelled the end of the "doorbuster", there will be plenty of great deals to be found in-store and online.
Improving internet speeds, coupled with online retailers' desire to capitalise on Black Friday-style spending, saw Cyber Monday emerge in the mid-2000s.
It became a particularly attractive day for the launch and promotion of gaming consoles and other tech and has since grown to include specials on goods of all kinds.
Unsurprisingly, as brick and mortar stores have increased their online presence and online shopping has become more common, the line between these two blue-ribbon shopping days has blurred.
For people heading online to make the most of the deals on offer, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) warns them to be wary of scams.
According to new data from ACCC's Scamwatch, Australians have already reported a record $211 million in losses to scams in 2021, an 89 per cent increase on the same period, between January 1 and September 19, the previous year.
"Scammers are pretending to be from companies such as Amazon or eBay and claiming large purchases have been made on the victim's credit card. When they pretend to help you process a refund, they actually gain remote access to your computer and steal your personal and banking details," Ms Rickard said.
"These scams are particularly concerning in our current climate, as many people are turning to online shopping because of the COVID-19 lockdowns."