To paraphrase Oprah, ‘A new (Yuletide) dawn is on the horizon.’ Time to prepare, to buy those gifts, turn on the music, and add a few kilos. We’ve learned not to leave the Christmas shopping till the last minute. Who would want to contend with the wild crowds, depleted stock, and with being on the bubble? Alas, we have come to appreciate an early Christmas cart. So don’t hold your horses; though not all of us celebrate the silly season, everyone loves a bargain. Presenting, Christmas in November!
- Singles Day. A relatively recent phenomenon, this one-day Chinese marathon sale has only been big over the last few years. The buying bonanza has humble beginnings, starting out as a no-heard anti-Valentines revelry for single Chinese back in the 90’s. It became what it is when retail behemoth Ali Baba cashed in, using it as a sales event. Don’t let the lack of history fool you though: this event has become the largest shopping event in the world. Each 11 November, Chinese retailers band together offering generous discounts for one day only. Why the 11th of the 11th month, you ask? Simple; 11/11 champions the number one. They are saying that ‘We not alone’, and thus spend freely and pamper themselves to celebrate their freedom.
Despite the transient nature, you can’t get past over one billion transactions, the figure from last year. Given the massive success, Western stores have gatecrashed the party. The revolution is infectious, snowballing to other countries beyond China and even SE Asia.
- Black Friday. One of the most ubiquitous and well known of the November splurges. This transpires the Friday after Thanksgiving. You might have seen the scenes online: madness. Apart from that, Black Friday is heavily-advertised, and companies are willing to fork out tens of millions just to get their share of the largest day in the US retail calendar. Americans are wont to believe that prices would never get cheaper than Black Friday and bargains never more unreal.
Most majors open really early, and since many Americans have a four-day holiday, that shops would be jampacked is a foregone conclusion. As per above, Black Friday has been the busiest shopping day in the U.S. since 2005. Vigils in front of shops and malls have been common, all in an effort to get a place in the line and thereby going home with glitzier gadgets. Some of us just shrug at this; we’ve gotten used to the pre-op vigils. We see that here whenever there’s a new iPhone, when people try to secure a spot before New Year’s, and of course, during Boxing Day. TV stations do a jolly good job of showing David Jones opening their doors and crowds flocking in like pigeons.
Meanwhile in the States, the queues are lengthy, and a horde and legion of seemingly angry and irrational Yankees head to the malls to curb their cravings. What do they find? Clothing, headphones, mobile phones, gaming consoles, perfumes, cooling, wallets, bags, watches, big ticket items, books, Blu-rays, computers…and a partridge in a pear tree. Mind you, all at insane prices. Whether it’s Macy’s or some midrange beer brand, chances are, most of them are in on the frenzy. If you could withstand the crowds and come out with most of your shopping list, then you’re one of the lucky ones.
- Click Frenzy (Australia). I am most familiar with this, having been around since its inception in 2012. Basically, Click Frenzy is Australia’s answer to Cyber Monday (more on that later). The craze is exclusively online and there is a countdown to remind you before the day and during the frenzy. It is being billed as the ‘sale that stops the nation’, in reference to the Melbourne Cup, which showcases itself as ‘the race that stops the nation’. Major retailers, midlevel brands, children’s stores, electronics shops, department stores, chemists, all come together for 24 hours and offer staggering deals. As the years go by, more stores joined in on the fun. Despite some setbacks along the way, the frenzy has thrived, with Travel Frenzy being introduced in August, and Click Frenzy Mayhem occurring in May.
- Cyber Monday. In a nutshell, this online event happens the Monday after Thanksgiving. Being around since 2005, shopping online on the Monday has been embraced. 2015 saw a record $6.59 billion in online sales. People were spending over $150 on average during the mayhem. So successful has the event been that other countries have appropriated their own versions, including Australia, New Zealand, the UK, Brazil, and South Africa. From the Korean peninsula to snowy Canada, beauteous Finland to Chile, online bargain hunting does not discriminate. The sale is observed in all six major continents on Earth.
It’s never too early to get those prezzies. Scour for a saxophone or look for good-value cat food. Let us ask this question: in the season of giving, who is king? The November Santa, that’s who.