To Black Friday or Not?

Nov 18, 2021

Wondering if you should jump on the Black Friday and Cyber Monday bandwagon?

We’re here to give you a few of the stats from 2020 and suggestions for entering your business into the world of Black Friday and Cyber Monday mega sales with our suggestions on easy-to-implement marketing tactics.

What is Black Friday and Cyber Monday?

In the US, the day after Thanksgiving has always been a huge retail day, with hoards of shoppers taking advantage of the long weekend to hit the department stores and get ahead with their Christmas shopping. The Black Friday phenomenon is said to have originated in Philadelphia in the 1950s when retailers around the city started offering one-day sales on the Friday, before the popular Saturday Army/Navy game.

With retailers realising customers' appetite for the deals and its revenue potential to turn their sales figures from being ‘in the red’ to ‘in the black’ in just one day, the concept quickly caught on around the US.  

The end of November is now an extreme bargain-shopping event that has taken the nation by full force, becoming a four-day buying extravaganza with spin-offs such as Small Business Saturday, Small Business Sunday, and Cyber Monday.

Why Australian Businesses Have Jumped On Board

Black Friday is a retail phenomenon that has been rapidly spreading worldwide over the past ten years. So why has it crossed the Pacific and taken a grip on Australian shoppers?

It’s hard to say. Maybe in part, people’s familiarity with the ‘Black Friday’ concept started with online shopping. Taking a little longer to become readily available in Australia, people would shop online for US brands and receive their emails about huge Black Friday sales. Bricks-and-mortar retail was also on the downturn around the world a few years ago, and global brands started to take their Black Friday sales internationally.

No matter how it came to be in Australia, the data shows that this is unlikely to go away anytime soon.  According to NSW-based social trends research group McCrindle, 96% percent of Australians had heard of Black Friday in 2020 compared with 76% percent in 2017.

2020 Australian Retail Figures from Black Friday Weekend

From the Australian Bureau of Statistics data,

  • retail turnover rose 7.1 percent in November 2020 compared with the previous month.
  • In November 2020, online sales accounted for 11 percent of Australian retail turnover as shoppers continued to embrace e-commerce, while department stores had a 21.1 percent surge in sales.
  • Shoppers snapped up clothing, footwear, and personal accessories the most, up 26.7 percent, while household goods jumped 12.7 percent.

Interestingly, according to Adobe Analytics, Cyber Monday has surpassed Black Friday to become the biggest event on the shopping calendar, raking in US $9.4 billion in 2019.

Who can get involved?

Quite literally anyone. The lines between Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales are very blurred now, and there are no rules. From tangible items like the latest game console to intangible experience vouchers, Australians are turning to the weekend of sales to get their Christmas shopping done and posted!

Should your business jump on the bandwagon?

Yes, if:

  • You have an e-commerce already set up
  • You have an active and engaged Instagram page and email database
  • You have a surplus of products that you would like to clear the storeroom and make space for 2022
  • You have struggled with covid lockdowns to keep your business out of the red
  • You know that some of your target market cannot visit your bricks-and-mortar store because of covid restrictions.

What could I offer without losing money?

With most retailers offering 50% plus discounts, you might be wondering how they can possibly be making any money. The answer is that it’s all relative. Relative to the size of the business, the stock, and the profit margin. While offering huge discounts is just not viable for small businesses, you can still take advantage of the mega-sale buzz.

Here are our suggestions of promotions that you could run:


What: Free Christmas gift wrapping (and shipping, if you’re feeling very generous)

Why: It’s appealing because it’s one less thing for people to worry about doing themselves and means that the item can be sent directly to the receiver and stand a good chance of arriving on time.


What: Value- adding. For example, with every purchase over $50 receive a complimentary gift item.

Why: Value-adding is always an excellent alternative to discounting as it doesn’t lower the value of your brand. The gift item should be something that you have in stock that can be dispatched with the order.


What: Limited availability offer. Why not offer a limited discount for the first 50 purchases.

Why: because this will create hype and have people motivated to buy quickly instead of putting the item in their cart for later. For the people who miss out on the offer, well that’s too bad for them, but good for you because they will still probably want the item enough to purchase at the regular price.

How to run the offer/s

Email Marketing

We are BIG fans of email marketing. When you have a good-size database of people who have opted into your newsletter and are regularly opening your emails, you can expect that they would love to hear about any offers you have.

We recommend sending a teaser email about 2 days prior to Black Friday, letting people know that the sale / promotion is coming and what great deals they can expect. We would then send a second email at the start of the promotion with clickable links to your e-commerce site. If the promotion is running for more than 2 days we would recommend sending another email halfway through the promotion reminding people that they have xx # days left and xx # hours left to take advantage of your offer.

Instagram Shop

If you have e-commerce purchasing already available in your business, and you have a vibrant Instagram page*, then we HIGHLY recommend setting up an Instagram Shop.

To learn more about eCommerce and Instagram Shopping, check out our blog. 

We recommend posting about the offer in your newsfeed and stories with ‘don’t miss out’ teasers before the sale, ‘now available’ at the start of the sale, and ‘xx hours left’ during the sale . If you have Instagram Shopping set up, then make sure you turn any content into shoppable posts by adding product tags to your Black Friday items on offer.

Instagram Reels are getting amazing reach and engagement, so experiment with these to announce your upcoming promotion.  

* By a vibrant Instagram page, we mean that you have at least six posts on the page and have a following of 200 plus people who regularly like or comment on your content (not just your friends and family). 

What’s next?

With the Black Friday bonanza just around the corner, you have just enough time to launch your first promotion for the occasion!  Whether you decide to try social commerce or email marketing, we hope you have fun with it and get the sales you deserve!