Boxing Day: Old Traditions Live On in Contemporary Retail

There’s more to the Boxing Day sales than just grabbing a bargain, writes Russell Zimmerman. And the tradition has a bright future in our new retail world.

It’s the day Aussie retailers plan for months in advance. As soon as all the presents under the Christmas tree have been unwrapped, we turn our attention towards Boxing Day sales and prepare for a day of excitement, chaos and self-indulgence.

Gone are the days where shoppers looking to pick up a bargain in the traditional post-Christmas sales have no choice but to get out of bed early and head to their local shopping centre, fighting against hordes of others with the same idea and getting trampled as they try to snag a bargain or two.

Online is no doubt the biggest growth area in retail now and its steep growth curve isn’t likely to curb any time soon.

Today’s retailers have changed the dynamic of their traditional Boxing Day sales. The introduction of online post-Christmas sales by multichannel retailers has certainly changed the way we shop. It’s thought those seeking larger items or those in limited stock or in high demand will be snatched up online before bricks and mortar stores had even opened, with some retailers starting their Boxing Day sales as early as Christmas Eve.

From the comfort of their living rooms, Australian consumers can purchase online and take advantage of Boxing Day sale prices. However, while online Boxing Day sales have offered customers a new way to shop, they can never really replace the experience of heading to your local store early on Boxing Day morning, gift cards at the ready and determination in your eye while you fight to bag a bargain.

Even with consumers cautiously watching their bank balances, if you head to any shopping centre today you are guaranteed to see masses of shoppers – both young and old – their trolleys laden with toys, clothes, accessories, homewares and appliances, on an absolute mission to stock up on discounted items for 2014.

The tradition of getting up early and heading to the shops on Boxing Day will remain a constant in my family. My mother in law, wife and daughter share in this tradition together, so while there is now the opportunity to shop online and avoid the queues on Boxing Day, we will continue to visit the shops and touch, feel and try on for size before buying.

Before Christmas day, shopping is a selfless act and usually more stressful than enjoyable. Boxing Day sales give consumers the perfect excuse to spoil themselves a little, and with an expected two percent increase to post-Christmas sales this year, we can be sure shoppers will be doing just that.

There is definitely more to Boxing Day sales than getting a bargain – it’s a social activity that has been passed from generation to generation. While online sales will continue to grow, I can’t see the shops being empty on Boxing Day any time soon.
Remember to always shop wisely. A bargain isn’t a bargain if you can’t make use of what you have bought. However, if you shop wisely there are many great bargains to be found both in larger chain stores as well as at your local retailer.

See you at the shops on Boxing Day!

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