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A Comprehensive Guide to Black Friday

Explore the history, trends, and top tips for a successful Black Friday shopping experience. Get ready for the ultimate deals and discounts!

Black Friday

Published on 05/11/2023

By William Walton

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Black Friday is a term that conjures images of bustling stores, slashed prices, and frenzied clicks in online checkouts. Originating in the United States, this shopping extravaganza has transcended borders to become a global phenomenon, and Australia is no exception. As we gear up for another season of incredible deals and discounts, it's handy to understand what Black Friday is all about and how to make the most of it.  

Our comprehensive guide is here to help out before the savings commence on November 24th. With the information below, we’ll equip you with all the knowledge you need to navigate the Black Friday sales like a pro. From its intriguing beginnings to savvy shopping tips - we've got you covered. 

What is Black Friday? 

Originating in the mid-20th Century in the United States, Black Friday technically refers to the day after Thanksgiving (the last Friday of November). That’s important because it marks the beginning of the end of the year as the festive period starts to ramp up and work quietens. It’s the official commencement of the silly season! US retailers began offering serious deals across their stores to celebrate, hoping to attract some early pre-Christmas volume. The idea took off around the world.  

Since then, Black Friday has grown into an international shopping frenzy, with brick-and-mortar and online stores alike leaping in with considerable deals across a vast range of products. It’s a truly global retail bonanza, with Australians enjoying deals from companies local and abroad. Brands from fashion through to high-end electronics often offer some of the biggest savings shoppers will witness throughout the year on this date, hoping to entice in higher volumes.   

Why is Black Friday called Black Friday? 

The origin of ‘Black Friday’ is said to date back to the 1960s when police officers in Philadelphia were said to have coined the term to describe the chaotic rush of tourists entering the city to commence their holiday shopping after Thanksgiving. A second alternate theory suggests retailers might have created the label to mark the day on their calendar when they began making a profit, indicating a transition in their balance books from being ‘in the red’ to ‘in the black’.  

Whatever the origins, that’s not what Black Friday means to shoppers in 2023. Nowadays, consumers in Australia see the date as marking the beginning of the summer holiday season – with minds turning to Christmas gifts and family gatherings.  

When is Black Friday in Australia? 

Black Friday is the day after the Thanksgiving holiday in the United States, typically the last Friday of November. In Australia in 2023, that date is November 24th.  The duration of these sales can vary from retailer to retailer, with some outlets offering deals over the weekend and through to Monday (also known as Cyber Monday due to the extension of Black Friday deals for online shoppers). 

You should also be aware of different time zones if you’re looking to catch a Black Friday deal from an offshore company, as their sales may not commence until the day officially begins in their country of business. This means Australian retailers often kick off Black Friday sales earlier than US stores because the Australian time zone is ahead by several hours.  

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Why is Black Friday Celebrated? 

Since it falls late in November, Black Friday is more or less a month before Christmas and other end-of-year holidays. That means that consumers only have four odd weeks to buy gifts and organise extra odds and ends for gatherings and parties. There is money to be spent, and retailers know this. Offering a deal in this environment is smart operating and can contribute significant revenue to a business’ coffers before the end of the calendar year.

As such, many outlets spend months preparing their Black Friday deals and accompanying advertising campaigns to excite shoppers and incentivise them to come in and grab a bargain. It’s not just a shopping bonanza anymore; it’s a social event with many stores celebrating with midnight openings and prize giveaways.  

What Sales are on Black Friday? 

While some companies occasionally pre-release Black Friday deal information to drum up some enthusiasm among shoppers, you won’t know the full extent of the savings on offer until the day/weekend actually hits. While almost every retail sector in Australia comes to the party, many shoppers focus their attention on electronics, fashion, beauty and home appliances.  

It’s also worth remembering that some deals may be exclusive to online or in-store purchases. It may be worth creating shopping lists for desired items, setting a budget, and signing up for any newsletters from favoured retailers to potentially gain early access to savings to stay ahead of the game.   

To set your expectations for what might be around the corner for Black Friday 2023, we’ve compiled a list of deals that were available from an assortment of retailers for Black Friday 2022:  

  1. Boody: Up to 50% off everything, including underwear and activewear. 
  2. Active Truth: 40% off sitewide, including tights and swimwear. 
  3. Uniqlo: Up to 30% off. 
  4. Van Heusen: Four business shirts and polos for $100. 
  5. Arms of Eve: 25% off jewellery and accessories. 
  6. Champion: 40% off sitewide. 
  7. Mejuri: 20% off sitewide with a minimum spend of $150. 
  8. Bonds: 40% off sitewide. 
  9. Cole Haan: 30% off sitewide. 
  10. Teva: Up to 50% off selected stock. 
  11. The Ordinary: 23% off storewide. 
  12. Sephora: 15% off orders up to $100; 20% off orders over $100. 
  13. Kiehl’s: Buy two products, get one free. 
  14. Dyson: Up to $400 off selected products. 
  15. Koala: Up to 30% off mattresses, furniture, and homewares. 
  16. Sheet Society: 20–60% off storewide. 
  17. Kitchenaid: Up to 20% off selected products. 
  18. Adairs: 25% off all full-price items. 
  19. Ecosa: Up to 35% off storewide. 
  20. Booking.com: At least 30% off select accommodation and up to 25% off rental cars. 

Black Friday Sales 

Black Friday is a golden opportunity for savvy Australian shoppers, but forming a game plan is essential to make the most of it. Start by researching different brands early and setting a budget to avoid impulse spending. Prioritise big-ticket items where you can make significant savings, and always compare prices across different retailers to try and ensure you get the best deal. Remember to read the fine print for return policies and check shipping costs, especially for international brands. Utilise price tracking tools and sign up for mailing lists to get exclusive deals. 

While the focus is often on international brands, it’s advisable not to overlook local Australian retailers who may offer exclusive deals on homegrown items. If you're shopping online, don’t rush, but be quick; popular items can sell out fast. Bundle deals and additional accessories can provide extra savings, so keep an eye out for those as well. And if you happen to miss out on Black Friday, remember that Cyber Monday offers another chance for great deals, particularly in tech and online services. 

Using Different Payment Methods on Black Friday 

Suppose the budget is especially tight on Black Friday. Some shoppers may consider using other payment methods, such as Buy Now Pay Later (BNPL) service providers, including Afterpay and Zip, to ensure they don’t miss out on the available savings. Alternatively, some consumers may use credit card products to ensure they can access deals and secure rewards points or perks. The flexibility that some of these other payment methods provide may assist you in making the most of Black Friday. However, you should always seek independent financial advice before signing up for some of these products.  

Shopping Sustainably on Black Friday 

In the rush to grab the best deals, it's easy to overlook the environmental impact of our shopping choices. However, as consumers become increasingly conscious of sustainability, it's important to consider making our Black Friday shopping more eco-friendly. Here are some tips: 

  • Focus on quality over quantity. Instead of buying several small items you may not need, focus on purchasing higher-quality products that will last longer. This saves you money in the long run and reduces waste.  
  • Shop local. Consider supporting local Australian businesses that are more likely to have a smaller carbon footprint than those requiring international shipping. It’s more sustainable shopping, plus you're supporting the local economy. 
  • Prioritise eco-friendly brands. Look for brands committed to sustainability, whether through ethical manufacturing processes, using recycled materials, or developing a carbon offset program. 
  • Request digital receipts. Opt for digital receipts instead of paper ones. Not only is it easier to keep track of your purchases, but you're also saving paper. 
  • Use reusable bags. If you're shopping in-store, bring your own reusable bags. Many stores now charge for plastic bags to encourage this. 
  • Take advantage of bulk buying. If you find a good deal on a product you use regularly, consider buying it in bulk to reduce packaging. 
  • Ensure you recycle and upcycle. If your Black Friday shopping includes replacing old items, recycle them properly. Some stores even offer recycling programs or discounts on future purchases when you bring in old items. 
  • Ship purchases efficiently. If you're shopping online, consolidate your purchases into one shipment to reduce the carbon footprint. Also, choose slower shipping options, if possible, as express shipping usually has a higher environmental impact. 

Black Friday 2023 FAQs

  • What time do Black Friday sales start? Sales times can vary between retailers, but many start their Black Friday deals at midnight. Online sales often go live earlier, sometimes days before the actual event. Also, deals from international retailers may begin at different times due to tie zone discrepancies.  
  • Are online Black Friday deals better than in-store? This depends on the retailer and the type of product. Some deals are exclusive to online or in-store shopping, so it's best to check both. 
  • Is Black Friday only for tech products? While tech deals are certainly a focus for many Australian consumers, Black Friday sales extend to a wide range of products, including fashion, home goods, and even travel packages. 
  • What are Black Friday doorbusters? These deals are typically so good that they draw crowds to stores, often available for a limited time or in limited quantities. 
  • Can I return Black Friday purchases? If a product or service is faulty (through no fault of your own), you are entitled to a refund or replacement. Return policies for other instances can differ between retailers during Black Friday sales, so make sure to read the fine print before making any purchases. 
  • Is Cyber Monday different? Cyber Monday is the Monday following Black Friday and focuses primarily on online sales. Some deals are extended from Black Friday, while others are exclusive to Cyber Monday. 
  • Are the Black Friday sales really worth it? Generally, yes, but it's crucial to research and compare prices to ensure you're getting a good deal. You should also always consider the security of your financial position before making any non-essential purchases. 
  • How can I shop safely on Black Friday? Whether shopping online or in-store, always prioritise your physical safety and the security of sensitive personal information such as credit card details. Use secure payment methods, be cautious of overcrowded spaces, and use a secure website when shopping online. 

Stay Ahead of the Game for Black Friday 2023 

So, that’s the long and short of it! Hopefully, you’ve come to a more complete understanding of the origins and evolution of the Black Friday sales events with the help of our exhaustive guide. The deals on offer represent a valuable opportunity to secure that purchase you’ve been eyeing for a considerable time.  

With the right plan in place, you should be all set to go out and secure some valuable savings for you and the rest of the family. You might even be able to get a helpful head start on your Christmas shopping. Enjoy the bonanza, shop safely and securely to protect your information, and always compare different retailers to secure the best prices.  

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