Cyber sales should click with shoppers
There’s a new online retailing event headed for Australia
IT’S the biggest online event in the US and it attracted more than 10 million shoppers and $1.25 billion in sales in just 24 hours last year. Now an Australian retail group has planned a copycat event before America’s Cyber Monday and organisers say more than 150 retailers could take part in the inaugural internet discount shopping festival.
But retail industry experts say the event may not be able to compete with the GST-free prices and discounted goods from America, offered less than a week later.
The local online sale, dubbed Click Frenzy, will kick off next Tuesday and is designed to spark early Christmas buying for Australian retailers.
Organised by industry group Power Retail, the event has so far attracted more than 100 participating retailers, from big names such as Myer, Dick Smith, Target and Ted’s Cameras, to online-only outlets such as Kogan, The Iconic and SurfStitch.
Click Frenzy organiser Grant Arnott says the event was developed after talks with local online retailers and is designed to become an ‘‘ iconic’’ annual shopping event.
While Arnott says the event is clearly inspired by Cyber Monday, which has been operating since 2006, the Australian version will get the jump on its counterpart. ‘‘ We wanted it to happen before Cyber Monday but, if anything, we’re trying to tie it to the Melbourne Cup carnival,’’ Arnott says. ‘‘ Just like it is the event that stops a nation, we want this to be the sale that stops a nation, in this case every third Tuesday in November.’’
Arnott says the timing of the Click Frenzy event, starting at 7pm, was also no accident.
Most internet shopping is happening outside store hours, he says, due to its convenience.
‘‘ Shopping from the comfort of the couch is the gamechanger of this century,’’ Arnott says.
‘‘ People armed with iPads or laptops or even their mobile
Wewant this to be the sale that stops a nation
phone will be able to capitalise on this.
‘‘( Online shopping) is not having as big an impact as it’s made out to, but we believe it’s a big part of the future of retail.’’
Australians spent $11.7 billion in online stores last year, according to National Australia Bank research, but that figure is rising.
By the end of September, consumers had already splashed $12.1 billion in internet stores — a growth of 23 per cent year-onyear.
But while the growth of online shopping outpaced in-store purchases, it still only represented 5.5 per cent of bricks-and-mortar retail sales.
National Retail Association chief executive Trevor Evans says while it’s starting from a small base, internet shopping will challenge real-world stores.
‘‘ There’s no doubt that this will continue and become a bigger and more important phenomenon in the Australian market,’’ Evans says.
‘‘ There’s a long list of tra- ditional retailers who are online already or which are investing very heavily in getting online. Myer and David Jones are spending hundreds of millions of dollars to establish an online presence.’’
But while Evans welcomes Click Frenzy as a way to boost local trade, he says Australian online stores are still finding it tough to compete with low prices in international stores, due in part to tax laws that do not impose the GST on overseas purchases under $1000.
He says the Australian shopping event may struggle to compete with Cyber Monday as a result, as savvy consumers wait six days to find better deals from big international chains such as Amazon.
‘‘ Our current tax regime in Australia forces local companies to compete with online giants with one arm tied behind their backs,’’ Evans says. JENNIFER DUDLEY