Boxing Day sales 2021: What can we expect?

woman looking at clothes in a shop

Alice Piper

Posted December 20, 2021


Do Boxing Day sales events still resonate with Australian consumers? Here’s what to expect this year - with one category set to benefit the most from consumer spending. 
 
Setting the alarm for an early start, making a list of items to purchase, and racing to city and suburban shopping precincts to beat the crowds in the hope of bagging a bargain or two...

For shopaholics and savvy consumers, Boxing Day Sales events at High Street retailers are as synonymous with the day after Christmas as reheating leftovers and the Boxing Day test at the MCG

While the Boxing Day sales now fall a month after the increasingly popular Black Friday and Cyber Monday (where retail sales exceeded $8 billion this year), they still hold their own in terms of attractive discounts, with expectations high among retailers for strong consumer spending this year.

Are Boxing Day sales still relevant in 2021?

You’d be forgiven for thinking that the lustre has worn off Boxing Day sales given the rise of Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales events, and the 24/7 availability of online shopping.

Not so, says the CEO of the Australian Retail Association, Paul Zahra.

“For the past two years, November has beaten December as the biggest month for Australian retail sales throughout the year and the Black Friday sales can be mostly credited with this trend," Zahra explains.

“However, the Boxing Day sales remain a key event on the retail calendar, and with restrictions starting to ease, we can look forward to a bumper trading period.”  

Zahra believes the in-store nature of Boxing Day sales is key to its ongoing relevance, particularly as many consumers enjoy a mix of online and bricks-and-mortar shopping in the aftermath of lockdowns.

“Online shopping surged during the lockdowns, and it remains at elevated levels with online sales in October up 33.8 per cent compared to the same time last year. 

“Online sales currently represent 13.2 per cent of all retail trade, so while it’s on a strong trajectory, the vast bulk of sales take place in stores. Shopping remains a tactile, sensory, and social experience which means the in-person experience is hard to beat."

 

boxing day shopping tips

What can we expect for Boxing Day sales 2021?

With Australians getting back into the swing of socialising, Zahra tips one category to benefit the most at this year’s Boxing Day sales. 

“The category that suffered during the lockdown periods was clothing, footwear and accessories. With no social events to go to, people weren’t purchasing any new outfits. Sales declined sharply from May as Delta took hold, but we’re seeing the tide start to turn.  

“Sales of clothing, footwear and accessories increased 5.8 per cent in October compared to the same time last year and we’re looking forward to that upwards trajectory continuing in the pre- and post-Christmas sales.  

“With people planning parties, events and socialising much more than they have been recently, we’re expecting a positive period of trade for discretionary retail, like those in fashion, cosmetics and accessories,” Zahra adds.  

In fact, it’s not just clothing, footwear and accessory retailers that may benefit this sales season, as Aussies are set to spend more than they ever have before.  

Consumer electronics are expected to be in hot demand, while spending on experiences, such as travel and activities, is also gaining momentum as restrictions ease and state borders open up. 

"Post-Christmas sales forecasts show Australians will spend a record $21 billion in the three weeks from Boxing Day – up 2.1 per cent on the previous year and up 12.6 per cent on pre-pandemic conditions in 2019,” says Zahra. 

So, whether you’ve been waiting for a big-ticket item to go on sale, or looking to spoil yourself with an experience, get ready for the biggest Boxing Day sales Australia has seen yet.

Looking for a deal this Boxing Day?  
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