Cyber Monday kicks off on Monday, December 2, and its arrival means the Christmas shopping season is well and truly underway.
RELATED: Full Black Friday and Cyber Monday coverage
But what exactly is the Cyber Monday phenomenon – and how can you make sure you bag the best bargains on the big day?
Black Friday is the name given to the Friday after Thanksgiving Day in the US – celebrated on the fourth Thursday of November – which marks the official start of the end-of-year retail trading.
Cyber Monday is the name given to the Monday immediately after Black Friday – but while the former has existed for decades, Cyber Monday only originated in 2005, before the online shopping trend really took off.
It began as e-retailers wanted to encourage shoppers to shop with them, and to compete against in-store Black Friday sales, which were by then a massive tradition.
And how’s this for a fun fact – according to CNET, the sale was held on a Monday because in the mid-noughties, people had better internet connections at work than they did at home – which meant Mondays was the peak day for online shopping.
As a result, the Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales actually stretch on for many days of savings, and major Aussie retailers are now offering massive discounts across all categories, with everything from fashion, beauty, homewares, tech gadgets, home entertainment and everything in between heavily discounted.
HOW BIG IS IT?
According to Adobe Analytics – which tracks transactions for the top US retailers – a record $US7.9 billion ($A11.7 billion) was spent during last year’s Cyber Monday sale, eclipsing the 2018 Black Friday haul of $US6.22 billion.
And according to accounting, tax and advisory firm BDO Australia, the sale is becoming more and more popular Down Under.
“There’s been a lot of talk about whether Black Friday and Cyber Monday is translating to the Australian market, but in recent years, November has surpassed December as the busiest month for retailers, and this suggests these promotions are hitting the mark with Australian shoppers,” BDO’s national leader for retail Mark Schiavello said.
“Black Friday, Cyber Monday and Singles Day are blowing up on social media more and more each year, which is driving relevance and creating converts among Australia’s multicultural and tech-savvy shoppers.
“Retailers should apply a customer lens before making a decision about how to respond to these sales. If your customers are Millennials, then they’re highly knowledgeable, they understand global trends, they’re tech savvy and they’re willing to leverage the global marketplace to shop anytime, anywhere.”
WHAT CAN YOU BUY?
In a nutshell, anything – because Cyber Monday is huge across all categories from tech gadgets and home entertainment to beauty, travel, fashion, homewares and everything in between.
Most major retailers will have serious deals available, with Harvey Norman, eBay, The Good Guys, David Jones, Lorna Jane, Amazon, catch.com.au, JB Hi-Fi, ASOS and Myer just some of countless companies jumping on the bandwagon.
While the online sales period are a hit with savvy shoppers, experts have warned they can lead to an increase in online scams.
According to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC), Australians have already lost more money to online shopping scams in 2019 than in the entire previous year, with the body warning people to be cautious of online shopping scams in the lead up to the holiday season.
So far in 2019, reported losses from online shopping scams are over $4 million, well in excess of the 2018 total figure of $3.28 million.
“Scammers often try to take advantage of people doing their Christmas shopping including in the upcoming Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales,” ACCC deputy chair Delia Rickard said.
“Reported losses have tripled over the last three years and it is concerning that losses from this year are already so high.”
Ms Rickard also warned Cyber Monday shoppers to be wary of fake websites with dodgy online stores as well as fake sellers who may pose as genuine sellers on classifieds websites during this period.