Ask LH: Does Australia Have Black Friday Deals?

Hey Lifehacker, I know Black Friday and Cyber Monday are coming up soon in the States. Does Australia have any similar deals days and are they worth holding out for? Thanks, Discount Hunter

Picture: Getty Images

Dear DH,

Black Friday sales — major bargains offered in the US on the day after Thanksgiving — have been a feature of American retail life for decades. The popularity of online shopping has made many more Australians aware of the day, and of the related ‘Cyber Monday’ discount day for online stores which occurs on the Monday following US Thanksgiving.

We have seen occasional attempts to emulate those deals in Australia, despite the fact Thanksgiving is an utterly irrelevant holiday here. For instance, Apple holds a Black Friday sale worldwide via its online store, not just in its American outlets (though it does avoid using the actual ‘Black Friday’ branding outside the US).

However, the fact there’s a sale on doesn’t necessarily mean it’s a good deal. Whenever we’ve checked out the Apple sale, there haven’t been many notable discounts. In particular, Apple rarely offers even 10 per cent off the price of Macs, even though that’s a special you’ll find with astonishing regularity at other non-Apple outlets such as JB Hi-Fi and Dick Smith.

If you want a cheap Mac, those stores are a much better bet. Last year, there were some good deals on accessories and a handful of iPad bargains, but shopping around still produced cheaper offers without too much effort.

The other visible Australian attempt to directly emulate Black Friday was the notorious Click Frenzy event last year, which is returning on 19 November this year. We’d avoid Click Frenzy for two reasons. Firstly, the site famously failed to hold up for its launch event last year. Secondly (and more importantly), the actual specials were nothing to write home about. The hype completely failed to match the reality.

There are other fixed periods in Australian retailing where you’re likely to find bargains, such as the mid-year toy sales and the traditional Boxing Day department store sale. The latter is arguably the most like Black Friday; it falls after a major holiday and people are willing to queue outside major retailers to hunt down specific bargains.

In the global economy, there’s nothing to stop you taking advantage of US Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales via online outlets. However, in terms of Christmas shopping, there’s a particular restriction this year. Thanksgiving is particularly late (Thursday 28 November), so the delivery window will be fairly tight.

We’ll finish with the advice we always offer: if you’re contemplating a major purchase, do plenty of research. Buying something “on special” that’s only offered for a limited time won’t always score you the best deal. Don’t succumb to the pressure and the mania. Happy bargain hunting!


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