AUSTRALIAN shoppers will get their own version of America's online shopping phenomenon, Cyber Monday, when some of the nation's leading retailers slash prices at their online stores for 24 hours next month.
Australia's take on the online sales event, called Click Frenzy, will actually begin on a Tuesday, November 20, rather than a Monday, and is expected to give a much-needed boost to sluggish retail sales in the lead-up to Christmas.
''We're likening it to the Boxing Day sales on digital steroids,'' said the event organiser, Grant Arnott, from Power Retail, an industry resource for online and multichannel retailers.
In the US, Cyber Monday, which was launched in 2006 and offers online sales from more than 700 retailers, now attracts 10 million shoppers a day. Last year, they spent $US1.25 billion during the 24-hour event.
Held on the Monday after Thanksgiving, Cyber Monday was started by the US e-commerce industry so online retailers could capitalise on Black Friday - the day after Thanksgiving and the biggest retail sales day on the US calendar.
It has quickly become the biggest day for online sales in the US and Mr Arnott hopes Click Frenzy will achieve the same result in Australia.
He expects up to 200 retailers to take part in the event at clickfrenzy.com.au, which he hopes will attract up to 1 million shoppers and drive ''tens of millions'' of dollars worth of sales.
Mr Arnott will announce participating retailers in the coming weeks, including ''some very prominent retail names'' across fashion, beauty, electronics, outdoor, furniture and department stores.
''The whole aim is to stimulate activity in the online retail space for the benefit of all Australian retailers whether they are online or multi-channel,'' said Mr Arnott, who added that some international retailers were likely to take part.
The executive director of the National Retail Association, Trevor Evans, welcomed the event after ''really bad'' retail trade figures, but expressed concerns international retailers could rob local stores of much-needed pre-Christmas sales.
''I think Australian retailers will welcome the opportunity … but what concerns me is that they could lose out to foreign competitors because they can't compete when they have to pay GST and customs,'' Mr Evans said.
Conversely, Mr Arnott argues the event will give Australian stores ''a jump'' on Cyber Monday, which will be held less than a week later and is becoming increasingly popular among Australian shoppers.
''We want to be able to provide a real, local alternative to Cyber Monday before it really takes hold here,'' he said.