Singles Day, Click Frenzy, Black Friday and Cyber Monday: Are they worth it?

Click Frenzy is an Australian online sales initiative inspired by and based on a similar format to the United States shopping event Cyber Monday. The inaugural Click Frenzy event was launched on Tuesday, 20 November 2012 with heavy media and online promotion in the lead up, with organizers arranging sales partnerships with many of Australia’s leading retailers, and had given multiple assurances prior to the event that they would be able to support the anticipated heavy traffic of the event. However the event’s website crashed within moments of launching at 7pm AEST and was unavailable for most of the night, leading to a backlash from frustrated customers.

Once upon a time, the best place to snag a retail bargain was the Boxing Day sales.

But even December 26, with its 6am store openings and bottomless discount bins, never served up LCD smart TVs for $10, or PlayStation for $3.

For savings that steep – think 99 per cent off – its days like Singles’ Day, Click Frenzy, Black Friday and Cyber Monday that make it on to the calendars of shoppers worldwide.

Both Black Friday (November 25) and Cyber Monday (November 28) are traditionally US retail shopping sprees, falling on the Friday and Monday immediately following the Thanksgiving holiday.

These days are among the biggest online shopping days of the year. Cyber Monday alone is expected to generate $3.36 billion in retail sales this year.

However this Friday marks Singles’ Day, a retail concept that developed in China in 1993, by students seeking to celebrate their single Dom through gift-giving.

Every year it falls on the November 11 or ‘11.11’, a date which is said to symbolize the term “bare branches,” a Chinese expression for bachelors.

The 24-hour event, which was commercialized by China’s biggest internet company Alibaba, is known for heavy discounts on everything from fashion, to white goods, to electronic devices.

During the event last year, an estimated $12 billion worth of goods was sold around the world. Singer Katy Perry has been engaged as the global ambassador for the event.

“These days are an attempt to create an artificial sense of scarcity,” said Steven Noble, senior e-commerce analyst at Telsyte.

“Online retail generally is exciting and empowering for retailers. But on the other hand retailers lose the power that comes from being able to demonstrate scarcity.”

Mr. Noble said 24-hour-only online sales were an attempt by retailers to recapture some of the power they historically had in face-to-face transactions.

“It’s not just a matter of ‘hey everyone, shop online.’ It’s ‘shop online now, before Singles’ Day is over…or you will miss out.'”

In Australia, retail cashback site Cash rewards is forecasting the 24-hour sale this year to eclipse other major one-day retail events.

“AliExpress is the go-to on Singles’ Day in Australia, but other companies are coming on board and using it as an opportunity to move stock leading up to Christmas,” said Lorica Clarke, Cash rewards co-founder.

“Boxing Day sales are fine, but it’s a lot of leftover stock from previous years… whereas here you have great new stock prior to Christmas.”

As a retail cashback site, Cash rewards creates commissions with advertisers on its website, a portion of which is paid to its members when they make a retail purchase on the site.

On Friday any members shopping through AliExpress will receive an 11 per cent cash back offer, on top of Singles’ Day discounts.

An entirely local example of the 24-hour discount shopping spree is Click Frenzy, which this year runs for 24 hours, from 7pm on Tuesday November 15.

Last year it is estimated the event generated more than $90 million in sales, with more than five million visits to retailers.

With such a large customer base accessing a site all in 24 hours, Mr. Noble said major shopping sites could not afford to have technical glitches.

“You simply can’t expect customers to reload continuously when you are trying to create urgency for your products,” he said.

Click Frenzy experienced an extensive site crash when it first launched in 2012, which left registered shoppers unable to view details of discounts on offer at https://www.mydeal.com.au/clickfrenzy.

Since then Click Frenzy has operated smoothly, having enlisted online infrastructure provider Amazon Web Services to ensure the site performs well.

Next Tuesday the sale will include discounts of up to 99 per cent on a limited number of products, including the 55″ Samsung Ultra LED LCD Smart TV, for $10 including shipping (RRP $1295), the Fit bit Alta, for $1 (RRP $199) and the PlayStation 4, for $3 including shipping (RRP $349).

Mr. Noble said any consumer considering a 24-hour online shopping event should do their research before the day and only base their decision to buy on whether the sale price of the day is truly worth it.

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