Offer people an experience to be a future-minded shopper, rather than something like a short trip or a day spa.
“You can still spend, you can still make someone really happy, you can still let someone know how much you love them by how much you spend,” marketing and advertising guru Andrew Hughes told AAP.
But it’s also something that won’t have much of an impact on the environment or our sustainability.”
The consumer spree of Australian shoppers this weekend may be at odds with a sustainable economy, but that won’t stop them from spending an estimated $5 billion from Black Friday to Cyber Monday.
“Ask, instead, give people an experience,” Australian National University-based Dr Hughes said on Friday. Said.
Richard Denniss, chief economist at the independent think tank Australian Institute, said people don’t need to buy fast fashion or disposable furniture.
“Imagine all the services that can excite people rather than unsustainable things,” he said.
“Things like Black Friday, Crazy Mondays, Boxing Day sales, it’s all about capitalizing on the very, temporary excitement people get when they buy something.”
Westpac’s latest Card Tracker Index shows spending high even before the four-day craze.
Senior economist Matthew Hassan said the last reading means annual growth in card activity is about 10 percent above the pre-COVID-19 pace.
He said there has been a steady shift towards services and a slight decline in discretionary goods.
“Finer detail shows that this good-to-service transition has been driven by NSW and Victoria, consistent with the reopening.”
Part of the increase in retail activity is the need for belonging and community, which some find in malls, but people also have a lot of cash, Dr Hughes said.
Rising home values are making people feel more secure about the future, and households believe the worst of the pandemic is over.
“Now people say, ‘OK, it’s time to spend and spending makes me feel good,'” he said.
Shoppers have also adapted to supply chain problems and panic buying that has caused shortages.
Although toilet paper is back on the shelves, there is now a global shortage of wooden pallets.
Tanya Barden, chair of the Australian Food and Grocery Council, said pallet shortages are affecting local producers, who are sometimes prevented from shipping finished stocks.
“The best approach for consumers is to get an early start on Christmas shopping,” he said.
The current frenzy comes a few weeks after “Singles Day” or “11/11”, a big day in the Chinese shopping calendar on November 11.
“All these ‘days’ are produced of course,” said Dr Hughes.
“Our fear is not of missing out, our fear is that if we don’t get the right thing, it makes people sad and it leads to an ‘arms race’ – spending more each year on making people happy.”
Dr Denniss said people didn’t act like that 20 years ago.
“We’re the first people in human history to behave like this – our parents didn’t behave that way, our grandparents didn’t live like that,” he said.
“To tell ourselves this is inevitable and normal is to ignore how a large portion of the world’s population currently lives.”