For many retailers Singles Day, Black Friday and Cyber Monday are the start of a ‘peak’ sales period that goes all the way through to the end of the year. For each of the last few years we’ve seen November’s sales events produce bigger and bigger online sales numbers. We’re expecting even bigger numbers this year so we’re looking back on the numbers and trends from last year to help inform how retailers approach the upcoming sales event season.
Expectations for Sales Events 2021
Based on year-to-date actual sales numbers and historic sales trends to year-end, we’ve been predicting that 2021 would be the biggest online shopping year ever, with total online sales of between $6.25b to $6.8b. With further lockdowns since we made those initial estimates, we now expect the year to be at the mid-to-higher end of that range.
Pre-lockdown, we estimated that this November - the month all three sales event days fall in - would be around 11% higher than last year. That would see nearly $650m in online sales, compared to $585m last year, making it the biggest online sales month ever. Some of the reasons for our strong growth prediction include:
- Retail overall is having a good year with strong retail growth.
- There are more people online than there was a year ago.
- So far in 2021, we’ve seen online shoppers buy more often and spend more each time.
- There is greater awareness amongst shoppers about event days.
- There are more retailers participating in event days.
- The reduced ability to travel, and the extra discretionary spend it creates, was thought to be a key driver behind last year’s big online increase. Lack of travel continues to be a shopping driver this year.
- Low unemployment rates.
- More Kiwis are getting their Christmas shopping completed early while items are on sale.
Based on what we saw last year, the latest lockdowns could see November’s online sales growth be even greater than what we first predicted. Either way, we’re getting ready for bigger volumes than last year and a continuation of the trends that were starting to emerge. We think you should be doing the same.
A reminder of 2020’s numbers and trends
Despite talk of a global recession, November 2020 retail shopping volumes hit new all-time highs. At a massive $5b, November 2020 was the biggest November retail spending month ever.
Total spend (online and off) in November 2020