Boxing Day has always been the most anticipated shopping day of the year, with shoppers ready to brave the crowds and snap up never-to-be-repeated deals.
But a survey for price comparison website PriceSpy hints the gloss might be wearing off the big day with bargain hunters spreading the love over Black Friday and pre-Christmas sales.
The data shows the number of people who shopped on Boxing Day last year dropped 10 per cent compared with 2019.
Whether it’s parking, queues, and traffic hassles or people choosing to spend more time with family, Liisa Matinvesi-Bassett from PriceSpy said there had recently been a noticeable shift in people’s shopping habits.
The adoption of the American “Black Friday”, which falls after Thanksgiving and is the country’s busiest shopping day, definitely had an impact, she said.
“With the popularity of Black Friday and Black Week on the rise, people are increasingly looking to buy items at discounted prices pre-Christmas, rather than waiting until after Christmas Day.
“For the first time ever, this year Black Friday may actually beat Boxing Day on the popularity scale, as people may instead choose to reconnect with friends and family after long lockdowns rather than hit the shops.”
With retailers keen to lure customers in after a long lockdown, this year saw plenty of pre-Christmas sales to take advantage of.
A quick scan of letter-box catalogues shows stores offering 30 per cent off store-wide and others up to 60 per cent off whole ranges.
But there is still good news for retailers.
Despite a dip in the number of people shopping on Boxing Day last year, those who hit the shops parted with more cash.
The average amount spent per person on Boxing Day 2020 was $1203.30 – up 38 percent from 2019.
“After a tough and challenging year, retailers will undoubtedly be pleased to hear the amount shoppers are spending on Boxing Day is significantly up,” Matinvesi-Bassett said.
“This rise in spending may be driven by the ongoing factor of long lockdowns, as people have been unable to buy normally – and some may have also saved money across the year as a result of not going out as much as what they normally would.”
Matinvesi-Bassett is predicting, after recent Covid restrictions, that people might be set to spend even more this year.
That’s the hope from Mark Knoff-Thomas, CEO of the Newmarket Business Association.
He said retailers in the shopping precinct were only just starting to see the high volume of customers expected throughout the holidays.
“Last year after lockdown lifted we had a surge of shoppers and we haven’t had that this year,” he said.
“Black Friday in 2020 eclipsed Boxing Day with $4million spent on the day – $100,000 more than Boxing Day.”
But Knoff-Thomas expected great things this Boxing Day with plenty of specials and retailers “going all out” to make shopping on Boxing Day the best experience.
Greg Harford from Retail NZ said Black Friday had made a massive dent on Boxing Day but it would still be a busy day.
“There are always people wanting to swap gifts, spend vouchers and be part of it whether it is at the stores or online,” he said.
“The one thing we ask this year is that people ‘shop kind’, be patient and wear a mask.”
PriceSpy’s pricing insights from Boxing Day last year show almost half the products listed on PriceSpy dropped in price on Boxing Day.
And just over a fifth of all items listed on PriceSpy received a price drop of 10 per cent or more.
But Matinvesi-Bassett warned there were also Boxing Day price hikes, with 18 per cent of items listed on the site costing more.
She urged shoppers to do their research and compare prices before they hit the stores.
Top Boxing Day tips:
* Don’t rush buy – do research first.
* Don’t assume big sale days offer the best discounts
* Compare prices for big-ticket items between stores
* Check historical price through price comparison app.
Boxing Day bargain? Check out when these products were at their cheapest
Sony wireless headphones – $375.49 on 7 December 2020
Apple AirPods Pro $359.99 on 1 August 2020
Apple AirPods $211.95 on 12 October 2020
Dyson Hot+Cool AM09 $494 on Black Friday
Dyson Cyclone V10 Animal $796 on 6 October 2020
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