Black Friday Cyber Monday in Australia. How Did It Really Fare?

19 Dec 2018 6 min read

Originating in the US, Black Friday is the day that unofficially marks the beginning of the holiday shopping season. It’s a time when shoppers are poised, ready and willing to buy; eager to secure bottom-dollar offers and get a head start on their Christmas shopping.

This perfect combination of increased demand, timeliness and urgency is like a retail hat trick, spelling big wins for retailers.

But does it really?

There’s been a lot of hype this year around online shopping events like Black Friday, Click Frenzy and the likes of Amazon Prime Day, but we wanted to find out if these online shopping events actually deliver results for Australian retailers. Should we believe the hype?

So, we decided to take a look at the cold hard data to get some answers.

How did Black Friday Cyber Monday perform in 2018?

In the US, Black Friday and Cyber Monday reached new highs for online sales, bringing in a record $US6.2 billion, 23.6% above the previous year, according to Adobe Analytics. Cyber Monday, the younger of the two holidays, surpassed its forefather by over $1 billion in sales.

In Australia, shoppers are estimated to have spent in excess of $1 billion online across the four day period known as Black Friday Cyber Monday or BFCM, which is double that of the previous year.

For Neto merchants, gross merchandise volume (GMV) for the weekend increased by a massive 38% year-on-year from 2017-18, and order volume grew by 22%.

Did you know: Black Friday Cyber Monday in the US didn’t even make up half of Single’s Day sales - an Alibaba day that started in China that’s yet to gain traction in Australia.

Is Black Friday or Cyber Monday bigger for online retailers?

Black Friday is. For the most part anyway.

In 2018, Black Friday brought in higher GMV for Neto merchants than Cyber Monday; however, we actually saw a slightly higher number of orders on Cyber Monday than Black Friday, with lower GMV.

This is because many retailers who offered sales for the weekend actually dropped their prices even lower on Cyber Monday than Black Friday—a last-ditch attempt to convert. The effect of this is that shoppers actually purchased more items because of the lower prices.

In terms of year-on-year growth, Black Friday sales for Neto merchants jumped 72% from 2017-18. Originating as an in-store shopping event, Black Friday (which is best known for its long lines and aggressive crowds) but now as big, if not bigger online.

In comparison, sales for Cyber Monday grew by just 10% year-on-year.

Popular Australian marketplace, Catch, also saw strong results for Black Friday, turning over in excess of $5 million, which topped their past high of 3 million and saw their fulfillment team to work around the clock to fill all of the extra orders.

| Related Reading: Black Friday, Cyber Monday, Holiday Sales, Promotions and Discounts

Does BFCM work better for some industry verticals than others?

Not all Black Fridays are created equal it seems, with some industry verticals bringing in much higher order value than others.

Tools and Hardware retailers enjoyed the biggest wins on Black Friday, with their average basket size increasing by a staggering 84% on the day compared to the yearly average of $162, indicating that shoppers are taking advantage of the low prices to buy higher ticket items, or to purchase multiple items at once.


Other top performers were Electronics and Hi-Fi where retailers saw a 46% increase in basket size and specialty Food and Alcohol, which jumped by 43% on the day. This is in comparison to Health and Beauty purchases, which only saw a 6.97% increase is basket size.

On the other end of the scale, Fashion retailers experienced a drop in their average sale value, by 10%.

Year on year, it was also Tools and Hardware retailers that saw the most growth in Black Friday sales, followed by Pets and Animals.

Want to know how your industry performed in 2018? Download the State of Ecommerce Report and find out.

Most popular BFCM products

The most popular products over the weekend were electronics and toys - TVs, drones, laptops, Nintendo Switch and smartphones.

Nintendo Switch
The Nintendo Switch was one of the most popular purchases over the BFCM weekend.

How were shoppers getting the deals?

Now we know for sure that shoppers in Australia take advantage of Black Friday sales, let's take a look at exactly how they're finding and accessing the discounts. According to Adobe’s report, direct traffic to retailers’ sites ranked the highest for revenue, accounting for 25.3% of sales, followed by paid search (25.1%), and email (24.2%). Social only accounted for 1.1% of sales.

Black Friday and Cyber Monday Traffic Source Graph
Main sales drivers for Black Friday. Source: Adobe Analytics

Final thoughts

With sales growing across the board for Neto merchants during the Black Friday Cyber Monday weekend, its erased any lingering doubt that this holiday hasn’t gained traction in Australia.

There are many more online sales events throughout the year (check out this post to discover them all), so we thought we’d wrap up with the keys to success on busy days like Black Friday Cyber Monday.

  • A great offer at a great price (sounds obvious, but you'd be surprised) - learn more about pricing your offers.
  • A tight promotional plan that delivers a consistent experience across all your channels (EDM, social, paid etc.).
  • Strong technology infrastructure - your website will need to deal with the increased load and you don’t want it crumbling at a pivotal time.
  • An efficient order fulfillment process - leverage automation to say goodbye to manual tasks - learn how to spend less time on fulfillment.
  • A clear returns policy and streamlined process for managing them - learn more.