It’s December and you know what that means.

CHRISTMAS!

And thank god. If I receive another “Click Frenzy”, “Black Friday” or “Cyber Monday” deal I think I’m going to go insane. Call me a Black Friday Grinch, but for the month of November my inbox has been flooded with sale deals.

I’m not pointing any fingers Sunglasses Hut, but in the space of 1 week one retailer sent me 8 seperate marketing emails.

Yes that’s right, 8 emails over 7 days.

That’s more than an email a day. Desperate for my business much guys? There’s probably been more Sunglasses Hut deals I’ve missed, but I’ve since unsubscribed from their mailing list.

Don’t get me wrong. As a consumer, I love a good sale.

I bought so much during Click Frenzy / Black Friday / Cyber Monday that it’d make any seasoned shopaholic blush. But from a consumer point of view, it seemed to me that for the second half of November retail was in a state of permanent discounting.

And all this got me thinking… this is a bad thing for December sales right?

Especially if I’ve already completed all my Christmas shopping in November (and bought a little bit for myself), I kind of have nothing left to buy in December. And that money I was planning on spending during the annual boxing day sales? Gone. I’ve already spent in during Black Friday.

Black Friday is coming to take your Christmas sales.

All these November sales are great for consumers, but for retailers it paints a very different picture.

Anyone who works in Australian retail can tell you that December has traditionally been the strongest month for retail. However an interesting thing happened in 2016.

For the first time ever, November retail spending overtook sales in December and took the crown as the biggest shopping month in the calendar year. The trend continued in 2017, with seasonally adjusted retail sales rising 1.3% to 26.39 billion (the strongest growth of any month for the year), whilst December sales fell 0.6% to $26.25 billion.

Whilst we’re yet to get full November and December sales for 2018, based on the sales activity I saw from last month I’m guessing this trend of November outperforming December has gained even more momentum.

November sales have traditionally been a thing for US retailers. But Black Friday has now spread to Australia.

Consumers in the US spent $7.9 billion over Thanksgiving Day, Black Friday and Cyber Monday; making it the highest U.S. sales

As online shopping continues to gain momentum in Australia, so to do we see the competition increase. More retailers (both online and physical stores) are now coming under increasing pressure from overseas retailers to participate in Black Friday / Cyber Monday sales. For if they don’t, they risk the potential of missing out on sales to competitors who do.

To put this into perspective, revenue from Alibaba’s Singles’ Day vs Cyber Monday / Black Friday.

And I haven’t even discussed Alibaba singles day yet, the sale to end all sales. Held on November 11, China’s Singles Day saw the e-commerce giant put through more than $42 billion┬áin sales in 24 hours this year. Imagine if this impact comes to Australia?

The Australian retail calendar has changed.

Before you come complaining about declining December / Christmas sales, understand that the sales may just be shifting earlier in the calendar year to November. Australian consumers are now discussing Christmas, Boxing day and January sales less and less. Their attention is moving to November; and as a result retailers are starting to see (or will likely see in the next couple of years) Black Friday and Cyber Monday dwarfing Boxing Day sales.

Like it or not, Black Friday has now become a permanent fixture within the Australian retail landscape; and we’re likely just seeing the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the impact of the holiday. Expect it to be an even bigger event in the calendar next year. Especially as the likes of Amazon continue to flex their muscles over the coming years.

Failure to recognise this trend could prove detrimental for retailers. Many retailers often rely on December sales pulling them out of a bad year, however this may no longer be the case.

Your customers are still coming for sales, however they’re probably now coming in November rather than December.

While these new November sales promotions create new markets for many retailers, with them comes more complexity for the business model. Expect to see more and more retailers re-forecast and plan staffing / inventory levels accordingly around November, rather than assume the traditional Christmas boom will continue.

You have a year to prepare for next Black Friday so consider yourself forewarned!