Black Friday and Cyber Monday sale concepts

Australia embraces Black Friday and Cyber Monday

The Black Friday and Cyber Monday sale concepts have well and truly arrived in Australia with retailers embracing this latest retail event to stimulate what has been an economically lack lustre year.

shoppingWhy 'Black Friday'?

For many Australians, Black Friday is just confusing – shouldn't Black Friday' be on Friday 13th? In the US, the Black Friday sales follow Thanksgiving in a similar way to the Australian Boxing Day sales. The Black Friday sales also lay a clear runway to Christmas, stimulating consumer spending. 

The story behind the name Black Friday is hotly contested. In the US, the use of the name 'Black Friday' was first used for the gold market crash on 24 September 1869. The crash was engineered by financier Jay Gould and railway magnate James Fisk amongst others, when an attempted play to drive up the price of gold unravelled. The pair sought to corner the market in loose gold using political influence to keep Government gold off market, driving up the price from $100 to $163.50. However, when the Government recognised the scheme, it placed $4 million in-specie on the market. The price of gold plummeted to $133 with the ensuing panic spreading to the rest of the market. Gould, who secretly sold much of his gold stocks on the high, did better than Fisk who lost much of his investment. 

The use of Black Friday in a retail context appears to have come out of Philadelphia, where the police used the term for the general craziness created by the crowds swelling the city's population for the post-Thanksgiving Day sales and in preparation for the Army-Navy football game on the Saturday. Stretched to their limits the police could not take the day off and worked long shifts, thus it was a black day on their calendar.

The widespread use of Black Friday to describe a shopping sales event was at some point in the 1980s with PR spin turning the story into a positive economic event. The story goes that struggling retailers went from being 'in the red' throughout the year to 'in the black' following the boost in sales in the period between Thanksgiving and Christmas. When accounting was documented by hand, the black in black Friday was said to be from the black ink staining the fingers of the accountants. 

And now Black Friday is in Australia, adding another event to give consumers a reason to spend. We now jump from one retail event to the next with Easter eggs and hot cross buns appearing almost immediately after Christmas, with a quick foray into Valentine's Day in between, then a sea of pink for Mothers' Day before the big red signs come out for the EOFY sales. Post the last minute sales rush of the end of financial year, we have Fathers' Day, now Halloween, before the Christmas decorations go up and the Christmas carols go on a 24/7 rotation.

From a retail perspective, and to hijack Voltaire's famous quote, if Christmas did not exist, it would be necessary to invent it.

The rise and rise of online shopping

Black Friday and Cyber Monday are online focussed events (although anyone who fought the shopping centre on Friday, 29 November would hotly contest this).

Australia Post's recent 2019 eCommerce Industry Report states that in 2018, the five weeks from 11 November to 15 December accounted for almost 15% of all eCommerce transactions. The peak for this period was Black Friday / Cyber Monday, which was the biggest online shopping week in Australia's history, recording strong growth of over 28% from the previous year.

In general, more than 73% of Australian households shopped online in 2018. Group CEO Christine Holgate said, "Almost three quarters of all Australian households are now shopping online and we expect that around 12% of all consumer spending will be conducted online by 2021."

eCommerce in Australia is growing rapidly, with online spend reaching 10% of total retail sales in 2018, two percentage points higher than the previous year. Australians spent $27.5 billion buying goods online, an increase of 24.4% year on year.

The number of online purchases grew by more than 13% year on year in every State and Territory, with the national average growing over 20%.

Services such as Afterpay have also taken away the pain point for consumers deciding whether or not to make a purchase (without the debt loading of traditional credit card arrangements). Afterpay reported $4.3 billion in underlying sales through its platform in 2018-19 with a loyal client base entrenching the service as a habit.

While the rise of eCommerce sounds impressive, this growth does not necessarily represent economic growth. Much of the expansion of online shopping is an alternative to physical shopping and a reflection of a market shift towards consumer preferences. Growth in retail spending has been steady at a low rate, but rising prices have implied that the volume of retail sales declined over the year to the September quarter.

Collins Hume partners with you to achieve greater business and lifestyle success as your trusted advisers. Call us in Ballina or Byron Bay on 02 6686 3000.

Easy one-minute Business Risk Survey

Can you afford not to take our Business Risk Survey?

Our Business Risk Survey is an easy online self-assessment tool.

business risk scorecardThis is an initiative by Collins Hume to support our business clients to understand and improve their business, and it starts with our quick survey.

We know from experience that this survey will help business owners to identify concerns with their business.

Our survey only takes a minute, and you get the result straight away on your screen. There is no downside.

By investing one minute of your time, we also find that we also gain a much deeper understanding of your business and the issues that are bothering you. 

Our Business Risk Survey is an easy online self-assessment tool:

START SURVEY

No commitment. No cost to you. 

You will receive a copy of your Scorecard, and we can discuss it with you. Anything more is entirely up to you. 

If you do want to go further, we may be able to help you. We can talk about that once we know what your top risks and concerns are.

Once you complete the survey, you will be able to immediately download your own personalised Business Risk Scorecard. 

It gives you an easy way to identify how your business is positioned. We also get a copy, and will check in with you to discuss the results.

Collins Hume partners with you to achieve greater business and lifestyle success as your trusted advisers. Call us in Ballina or Byron Bay on 02 6686 3000.

How to offset your driving carbon emissions

How planting trees triple offsets driving carbon emissions

During National Recycling Week, Business Manager and Giving Coordinator David Keith talked about triple offsetting driving carbon emissions by planting trees.

tree plantingTriple Offset means you pay for you and two other people's carbon emissions, so you're not driving neutral, you're driving positive; climate positive. You're essentially saving the world more while driving about.

A friend of Collins Hume, Tim Wade, has in fact done all the hard work for us and calculated what it takes to triple offset our driving carbon emissions.

B1G1 Lifetime Partner, Tim, is a motivational speaker based in Singapore who presents at global conferences, conventions and corporate events about leading change and motivating positive results. He is also as committed as Collins Hume to helping achieve the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.

"Peter Fowler and I were chatting about calculating a triple offset for carbon emissions from driving," said Tim. "We started asking how many trees we should plant to offset 10,000 km of driving."

"But because vehicles consume at different rates, we simply need to choose the single common denominator. In this case, it's offsetting by fuel volume purchased."

Tim has written an article which includes what he calls 'easification elements' to simplify the maths into trees-per-tank:

"When I fill up my car with fuel, to triple offset my CO2 emissions I plant eight fruit producing tress to help restore the environment," says David. "That costs me US$3.20 or about AUD$4.50."

Wait, how do I plant a bunch of trees?
Easy. Buy some saplings at a nursery and plant them on your land. Commitment: apart from the first time, it's unlikely that you'll outlay time, money and resources to repeat the exercise every time you stop for fuel.

Or…

Join B1G1.com and donate to a worthy cause that plants trees via the B1G1 member platform. There are causes do this starting from USD$0.40 per tree. Each tree produces fruit so families have vested interests in keeping their trees alive and can earn income from the fruit produced while the growing plant sequesters carbon from the atmosphere. 

Cost: Well under $1.50 per litre to fill a fuel tank. As a B1G1 member, 100% of your giving goes to the worthy cause. USD$0.40 per tree and planting 8 trees per tank for a normal car adds just US$3.20 to your cost of a full tank of fuel. Commitment: under two minutes once you're set up as a B1G1 member.

Please get on board – it costs very little to help save the planet. 
For B1G1 queries and member set up, contact David Keith at david.keith@collinshume.com.au. Visit Tim's website to read about other carbon offset ideas at https://www.timwade.com/category/global-issues/climate-change/.

Copyright 2019. @CollinsHume Accountants Business Advisers Ballina & Byron Bay NSW

Collins Hume's Business Risk Survey

Is it worth 1 minute to assess your level of business risk?

One minute | Ten easy questions

business risk surveyAt Collins Hume, we have developed a Business Risk Survey that is sure to be eye-opening for any business owner. 

It only takes a minute to complete but is of enormous benefit if you have concerns about your business that keep you awake at night.

In designing our Business Risk Survey, we urge business owners to do a pulse check on how you're feeling about how your business is tracking, to see if there are any concerns or opportunities that you're not getting to discuss because you're immersed in running your business day-to-day. 

Most importantly we've kept the questions brief:

  • It can help to identify some risks or issues with your business;
  • Only takes one minute;
  • There is no outlay for Collins Hume clients to complete the initial survey.

Our survey allows you to quickly assess key risks and value drivers in your business. There are only 10 questions in the survey which take about a minute to complete AND IT'S FREE.

BUSINESS RISK SURVEY

Once you have completed your survey you will receive our personalised Business Risk Scorecard.

Collins Hume partners with you to achieve greater business and lifestyle success as your trusted advisers. Call us in Ballina or Byron Bay on 02 6686 3000.

CGT & the family home

Expats and foreigners targeted again

The Government has resurrected its plan to remove access to the main residence exemption for non-residents – a move that will impact on expats and foreign residents.

family homeBack in the 2017-18 Federal Budget, the Government announced that it would remove the ability for non-resident taxpayers to claim the main residence exemption. The unpopular measures were introduced into Parliament but stymied. An election later, a recomposition of Parliament, and the Government has again introduced the reforms but in a modified form. 

The proposed changes would apply from the original Budget announcement date back on 9 May 2017, so could impact on properties that have already been sold. However, a transitional rule would allow CGT events happening up to 30 June 2020 to be dealt with under the existing rules as long as the property was held continuously from before 9 May 2017 until the CGT event. That is, if you held a property from 9 May 2017 up until the sale date, the existing rules might continue to apply.

If the measures pass Parliament, a non-resident taxpayer would be prevented from applying the main residence exemption to the sale of a property, regardless of whether they were a resident of Australia for some or most of the ownership period.

For expats, there is a proposed exception to the new rules for situations where the individual has been a non-resident for 6 years or less and a specific life event occurred during the period of foreign residency. The life events refer to terminal medical conditions suffered by the individual or certain family members, the death of certain family members or a marriage of de facto relationship breakdown. That is, if you were working overseas for 5 years and your spouse died during this time, the exemption could still potentially apply to your Australian former main residence. 

For non-resident individuals, there will be a significant flow-on impact if the legislation passes Parliament as:
  • They will miss out on a full or partial exemption under the main residence rules;
  • They will generally be taxed at non-resident rates (i.e., no or only partial tax-free threshold)
  • The CGT discount percentage could be less than 50%
  • The cost base reset rules which sometimes apply to provide an uplift in the cost base of the property to its market value at the time it is first rented out are unlikely to apply 
  • The foreign resident withholding rules could impact on the cash flow position of the vendor

Currently, individuals are generally not subject to capital gains tax (CGT) on the sale of the home they treat as their main residence. 

If the home was your main residence for only part of the ownership period or if the home is used to produce income (for example, you use part of the home as business premises or rent out part of the property), then a partial exemption may be available. In addition, if you move out of your home and you don't claim any other residence as your main residence, then you can continue to treat the home as your main residence for up to six years if you rent it out or indefinitely if you don't rent it out (the 'absence rule'). 

The main residence exemption is currently available to individuals who are residents, non-residents and temporary residents for tax purposes. Treasury Laws Amendment (Reducing Pressure on Housing Affordability Measures) Bill 2019 is currently before the House of Representatives and is not yet law.

While you should plan for change, do not act specifically on these impending changes until they have passed Parliament. If you are concerned about how these impending changes may impact you, please contact us on 02 6686 3000.

Collins Hume partners with you to achieve greater business and lifestyle success as your trusted advisers. Call us in Ballina or Byron Bay on 02 6686 3000.

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