All you need to know about Black Friday – and where to find the best deals

It won’t be hard to find a bargain or decent discount in shops this week, with Black Friday just around the corner, Christmas spending is about to begin.

Black Friday, this year November 27, is traditionally a day associated with discounted gadgets and electronic goods but has extended out to most goods and marked by almost every retailer. Falling the day after Thanksgiving, the flash sales event which originated in North America is named aptly referring to retailers’ accounts from going in the red to in the black – profitable.

The imported sales event is marked on the Friday, through the weekend and into “Cyber Monday” and is increasingly being celebrated by local retailers earlier and earlier as they seek to get a headstart on competition.

Kiwis spent $253 million during Black Friday sales last year – it was the second-busiest shopping day of the year, according to spending figures from Paymark.

Retail NZ expects Black Friday this year to reach new spending heights.

Chief executive Greg Harford says Black Friday has been starting earlier and earlier over the past few years, and while it doesn’t officially start until Friday, there are plenty of mainstream retailers that have already begun discounting.

The American sales event has also transitioned from being largely celebrated online to being very much part of the physical shopping experience too.

Harford puts the early start on Black Friday down to retailers trying to “compete with each other”. He says there is “real value in being the first to bring good deals to market”.

He said there was strong consumer appetite for the event, which continued to grow year-on-year in New Zealand. His prediction for this year’s uptake despite being in a Covid environment? “I think this year could well be bigger than last year.”

Harford believes closed borders and the inability to travel overseas driving the trend towards Kiwis spending more on discretionary goods and their home will be the reason for increased spending on Black Friday.

“Black Friday is a big time of year for retail. Retailers are getting into the spirit of it with good discounts and sales, some of those are coming in a little bit ahead of the day itself and I’m expecting it to be at least as big, if not bigger, than last year,” he said.

Kiwis typically made the most of Black Friday discounts, Harford said, and the event was considered the official start to Christmas shopping season.

Data from price comparison website PriceSpy shows most Kiwis intend to buy gadgets and electronics on Black Friday. Others are looking to score bargains within fashion, home and garden goods and on toys.

While there are savings to be had if you shop around, Liisa Matinvesi-Bassett, New Zealand country manager for PriceSpy, said the price of some goods went up on Black Friday.

She recommended that shoppers do their research before hitting the shops – or internet – to “make sure a deal really is a deal” and make a game plan in advance.

According to the research, one third of Kiwi shoppers do not have a plan of what they are looking to buy on Black Friday. “As people do with their weekly supermarket shop, make a list and stick to it – don’t get distracted. Once the list is drafted, start conducting price research,” Matinvesi-Bassett said.

“Doing this, you’ll soon familiarise yourself with how much products sell for outside the sale day so that you can better gauge whether the deal being offered on Black Friday is actually a good one. This is really important, as our research found last year, one in nine products increased in price the week before Black Friday week to make Black Friday discounts appear better than what they actually were.”

Warehouse Group chief customer officer Jonathan Waecker said Black Friday had become important for the country’s retail sector in the last two years.

“Last year we saw Black Friday become bigger than Boxing Day for many of our brands and many of our competitors, so it feels like the momentum for Kiwis who want to get those deals early is definitely growing,” Waecker told the Herald.

The Warehouse Group, which owns retail chains The Warehouse, Warehouse Stationery, Noel Leeming and Torpedo7, begins planning for Black Friday in February.

Waecker said the group expected to ring most of its sales in-store over Black Friday. Last year, 88 per cent of its sales happened in its stores, but it anticipates a much larger percentage will happen online this year. Its online traffic was up 15 per cent last year.

“Our customers, many of them are still hurting [financially] and many of them are not quite sure what the future holds… I wouldn’t say we are expecting blow-out sales necessarily, but at the moment we’re cautiously optimistic.”

Deals: The shopping guide

More than a handful of retailers are already celebrating Black Friday, advertising early Black Friday discounts on a wide range of goods, others are teasing that deals are coming soon.

A survey by global price comparison website Finder has found that 53 per cent of Kiwis will shop on Black Friday “if the sales are right”, and it will take a discount of at least 47 per cent to get Kiwis to make a purchase.

More than one third of Kiwis surveyed said they would only shop if the discount was greater than 50 per cent, while one in 10 Kiwis said they would shop for a 25 per cent discount.

New Zealand’s largest retail company, The Warehouse Group, is participating in Black Friday – its eighth year of doing so.

Last week the group had some early Black Friday deals, including buy-one-get-one-half-price deals, and will be releasing the deals for the event from tomorrow. Waecker said the group had plenty of stock and new stock arriving from suppliers daily up until a week before Christmas.

The Warehouse will have a range of deals online and in-store including a two-month Disney Plus subscription when you spend over $100 on toys and $100-plus discounts on barbecues.

Noel Leeming will have some of its “lowest prices ever” of Panasonic, Sony and Samsung products as well as other popular consumer electronic brands, while Warehouse Stationery will have a large percentage off deals on computers, laptop and printer ink and toners.

Torpedo7 will have buy-one-get-one-free deals on apparel and fitness gear, and e-commerce retailer TheMarket will have discounts of up to 50 per cent on brands, including Cotton On, L’Oreal, Kiehl’s, Lego and Breville, and offering further 10 per cent discount coupons.

The group will be launching all of its deals online first, at some chains the day before the event, and then rolling them out to the stores on November 27.

Furniture Zone is advertising queen bed mattresses for $99.00 and shoe brand Timberland is offering 20 per cent discounts on product both online and in-store on Black Friday. Hej Hej is offering global free shipping, while ASICS has opted to donate 20 per cent of its sales from Friday to Monday to Variety the Children’s Charity.

Kiwi jewellery brand Silk & Steel will donate 10 per cent of all online sales of their Talisman collection during the month of December to a mental health charity, kicking off on Cyber Monday, while woollen shoe company Allbirds will be taking part in a pay-it-forward-to-the-planet initiative. Instead of slashing prices, it will be increasing them by $1 and says $2 from each purchase will be donated to Fridays For Future, the youth-led international climate movement founded by climate activist Greta Thunberg.

Clothing retailer Superdry will have 30 per cent discounts store wide and online from November 27 to 30. Its VIP sales event will kick off on Wednesday this week.

Matthew Iozzi, head of marketing for Australia and New Zealand for the popular clothing retailer, said Black Friday had grown to become “what is arguably the biggest sales event to rival Boxing Day sales” within our region.

Iozzi said the company had a comprehensive digital marketing strategy that included working with influencers and would be pushed out on social media platforms Facebook, Instagram and TikTok.

“Black Friday is the first sales event of the year because of Covid. Traditional sale periods have been thrown out the window and what we can see from a broad range of retailers is it is a key period for a lot us,” Iozzi told the Herald.

“Black Friday every year is getting bigger and bigger, the profit margins are going up and up and up. And given the restrictions on the Australian and New Zealand communities over the last six months, I anticipate a large buy-in from the community than ever before.

“The current trajectory of the sales event is very close to matching that of what it currently is in the United States.”

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