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Retailers face sales slump as shoppers await discounts

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Research reveals retailers may face a pre-sale sales dip as 2 in 3 shoppers anticipate discounts.

As the eagerly anticipated Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales events (24-27 November) approach, new research from a prominent parcel delivery service suggests that retailers may experience a temporary slowdown in sales.

The survey reveals that 65% of shoppers strategically delay their purchases in anticipation of substantial discounts during these sales, prompting retailers to consider offering earlier or more frequent sales events.

Purchase delays before sales

Many Australian consumers employ a strategic approach to their shopping habits in the lead-up to Black Friday, the renowned sales extravaganza. Approximately 65% of these savvy shoppers deliberately hold off on making non-essential online purchases, motivated by the allure of significant cost savings and exceptional deals that this shopping event promises. Within this group, 30% prefer to wait just two weeks before Black Friday to make their acquisitions, emphasizing the importance of timing in their shopping strategies. Moreover, an additional 17% exhibit the patience to delay their shopping for an entire month. Notably, a dedicated 10% take a more long-term perspective, choosing to defer their shopping for two months. Furthermore, 5% are even more patient, waiting for three months before indulging in retail therapy. An even more remarkable 3% demonstrate an extraordinary level of patience by postponing their shopping satisfaction for a substantial six months.

Popular categories for delays

When it comes to the categories of goods they choose to delay purchasing, fashion items emerge as the frontrunners, with a significant 61% of shoppers intentionally postponing their clothing, accessories, and jewelry acquisitions in anticipation of better deals during the sales. The trend extends to other categories as well, as over half (57%) of consumers opt to delay personal electronics purchases, with another 55% practicing patience when it comes to household electronics. Moreover, this strategic delay strategy extends to various sectors, including household appliances (45%), beauty and personal care items (43%), furniture or homewares (35%), books, movies, music, and games (30%), and even holiday purchases (25%).

Age-related trends

Interestingly, the strategy of delaying purchases is not evenly distributed across age groups. Younger shoppers, typically aged 18-30, are notably more patient, with 23% willing to wait an entire month before making their purchases. In contrast, only 17% of those in the 31-50 age group are inclined to delay their shopping for a full month, with the older demographic of over-50s showing the least patience in this regard, as only 13% are willing to wait for a month. Furthermore, the survey highlights distinct age-related preferences in the categories of items for which delays are observed. Younger consumers aged 18-30 display a greater willingness to postpone the acquisition of clothing, accessories, jewelry, or shoes, with 65% opting for this strategy. In contrast, 60% of those aged 31-50 are more inclined to delay personal electronics purchases. These age-related trends in shopping behaviors reveal intriguing insights into how different demographics approach the sales season.

CouriersPlease CEO Richard Thame suggests that retailers might counteract this pre-sale lull by offering Black Friday-type deals earlier in the year or hosting big sale events that become synonymous with their brand. “Our findings show there may be a temporary dip in sales for retailers in the weeks leading up to Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Consumers are withholding spending on non-essential items in anticipation of discounts. To counteract this, retailers might want to consider introducing Black Friday-type deals earlier in the year or invest in a big sale event that becomes synonymous with their brand. 

“From previous surveys that we have commissioned, we know that shipping costs and fast shipping are a major influencer on shopper behaviours. At CouriersPlease, we have forged a strategic alliance with the E-Commerce partner HUBBED where parcels can be directed to over 3000 collection points Australia-wide, with many being accessible after hours. We encourage retailers to choose a delivery provider that provides their customers with plenty of value, including alternate parcel pick-up and drop-off locations, next-day deliveries and redirections.”

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