Shoppers hanging out for the traditional end-of-financial-year sale bargains could be left disappointed, with retail insiders tipping the sales to be quieter than usual – thanks again to the coronavirus.
The month of June is usually ripe with retailers trying to offload their excess stock as consumers scramble to scrape in as many tax write-offs before the end of the month.
But the pandemic has changed yet another thing that we could traditionally rely on.
Because the country has been in lockdown, and employees have been working from home since March, we’ve already made all our usual purchases that would traditionally get a run this month, retail analyst Gary Mortimer explained.
JB Hi-Fi, Harvey Norman and Officeworks – those are the traditional big three retailers we associate with end-of-financial-year sales, Associate Professor Mortimer, of Queensland University of Technology, explained.
“The impact of COVID-19 will actually lessen the sales this time,” Professor Mortimer said.
“A lot of these purchases have already taken place.”
We can see in the data from these retailers that there were very strong sales in March and April, as people were transitioning to working from home and setting up a home office, Professor Mortimer said.
Now, those working from home are set up – they’ve got their desk and their new computer.
There are also the unlucky who have lost work and income.
This economic uncertainty is not going unnoticed by retailers, and we can see that in the lack of slashed prices, Professor Mortimer said.
“I don’t think there’s much money left in the family budget to buy more of that stuff,” he told The New Daily.
“We’re going to be more concerned about putting food on the table, fuel in the car or meeting that mortgage repayment – not digital cameras or new clothes.”
A bargain in the rough
There is some good news for those looking to pick up a household appliance or two, Choice consumer advocate Jonathan Brown said.
Because there was such a spike in demand for home office equipment and electronics in March, many retailers over-ordered, Mr Brown told The New Daily.
The result? Too much stock that’s gathering dust and taking up space in warehouses.
“You may find a good bargain on items they’ve overstocked on or simply can’t sell,” Mr Brown said.
“Our data has shown a rise of popularity in kitchen appliances, such as slow cookers and coffee machines, so you might find a good bargain there this year.”
Mr Brown’s tips come with a warning, however: This is the time of year when retailers try to leverage the consumer’s appetite to shift some of their low-performing or dud products.
“Don’t let the price tags fool you. Sometimes we do see budget buys that can outperform more expensive ones, however sometimes they’re just not worth your money,” he told The New Daily.
“If you’re looking for a good bargain during the (sales), we suggest you always do your research before making a purchase.”
Still off the gas
We also traditionally see deals and sales in car yards and showrooms around the country.
Although data shows Australians are driving more in a bid to avoid the health risks of public transport, data shows we’re not buying new.
Car dealers have reported demand for used cars is outstripping new buys, to levels better than pre-COVID.
It continues a horror run for car manufacturers, whose sales are down some 23 per cent to the end of May, compared to last year.
“I just think that, at this time, shoppers have moved away from spending to saving,” Professor Mortimer said.