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Retail researcher warns of ‘post-Christmas blues’

The American retail traditions of ‘Black Friday’ and ‘Cyber Monday’ might have killed this year’s Boxing Day sales, says a Massey University retail expert.

Associate Professor Jonathan Elms, who heads Massey University’s retail programme, says many retailers are reporting Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales this year have outstripped what they normally do on Boxing Day.

Associate Professor Jonathan Elms

Black Friday is the day following the Thanksgiving holiday in the United States and traditionally marks the start of the Christmas shopping season. Black Monday is the Monday after Thanksgiving and a day of sales for online shoppers.

“This shift to adopt American traditions has happened very quickly and I think retailers may be caught out this year,” Dr Elms says. “If they haven’t adjusted their buying and promotional schedules, it could cause some massive headaches, especially if consumers are already fatigued from starting their Christmas shopping earlier than usual.”

Dr Elms says American shopping events have becomes “hyped” because New Zealand consumers can now buy online from anywhere in the world.

“The timing of Black Friday and Cyber Monday is so perfect for buying Christmas presents because there is still time to get items shipped internationally and local retailers probably feel they have to compete,” he says.

“I think it’s also due to the fact that more international retailers have a presence in New Zealand now and their corporate culture is having an impact on how they do business locally. Look at how much bigger Halloween gets every year.”

Dr Elms predicts Boxing Day will be slower in terms of sales this year and those consumers who can afford to wait might find even better deals after Christmas.

“Boxing Day is definitely going to be interesting because I think people are going to be shopped out. Many will have spent all they intend to in pre-Christmas sales. Shops could be left with a load of stock they can’t shift because the pattern of trading has changed.

“If the momentum goes out of the market, we are going to experience post-Christmas blues.”

Picture caption: Associate Professor Jonathan Elms

For further commentary please contact Dr Elms directly on 021 412 310.

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