Australian retailers jumped on the US Cyber Monday bandwagon by launching parallel online sales on Monday night, as Black Friday's internet retail trade topped $US1 billion for the first time, US data showed.
Just one week after Click Frenzy, the Australian-version of Cyber Monday, local brands such as Alannah Hill and Gorman took part in similar events such as Vogue's Christmas Online Shopping Night to coincide with the biggest annual e-commerce day in the US.
Pedestrians and shoppers fill the footpath on New York City's Fifth Avenue on 'Black Friday'. Photo: Getty Images
Australian retailers such as Cotton On also spruiked their own sales events on social media, offering discounts on their websites in a ''Cyber Weekend'' event.
Shopping centre group Westfield, which is involved in the Vogue event for the second year, said it experienced a spike in traffic and good sales results for its participating retailers in 2011, reflecting the continued growth of online shopping in the local market.
Australian Retailers Association executive director Russell Zimmerman said Cyber Monday and other parallel sales were a ''grand opportunity'' for local retailers, especially those selling products not widely available in other markets, to get involved in a new space.
''What retailers have to do is to look at those opportunities … and decide whether they can be competitive …'' he said.
Ingrid Just of consumer watchdog Choice said Australian retailers would also be banking on increased public awareness about Cyber Monday following the news leading up to and about last week's Click Frenzy event.
In the US, over the four-day Thanksgiving weekend, a record 247 million shoppers thronged online and physical stores across the US, a growth of 9 per cent from last year, the US National Retail Federation said. In Australia, Click Frenzy's early technical glitches did not stop retailers from experiencing a record amount of online sales, analytics firm Quantium reported.
Australian consumers could also circumvent restrictions set by some US retailers participating in Cyber Monday, including the need to have a US credit card or physical address, by using third-party delivery services such as PriceUSA, MyUS and Bongo International, Ms Just said.
''Given that we are a month out of Christmas, you'd want to check if you're buying Christmas presents, you're going to get it when you want it and you're happy with the postage and delivery fees,'' Ms Just said.
Online shopping hit $12.1 billion in the year to September, representing about 5.5 per cent of total retail spending excluding food in Australia, a NAB report stated.