CANBERRA, AAP – Retailers are expecting a multi-billion dollar spend-up this weekend as Australians grab a bargain in the Black Friday-Cyber Monday sales.

The Australian Retailers Association has predicted sales worth $5.4 billion over this weekend, a major boost for retailers after another difficult year due to the impact of COVID-19 lockdowns in various parts of the country.

The four-day shopping period, from November 26-29, originated in the US to tie in with its Thanksgiving holiday and has becoming increasingly popular in Australia as people shop early for Christmas.

An analysis by National Australia Bank estimates almost a million dollars a minute will be spent during the shopping frenzy.

Computers, appliances, games, toys, clothing and cosmetics are forecast to be among the most popular purchases, based on data analysing previous years’ spending trends.

“One in six of all November retail sales happened during this four-day period last year and we’re anticipating similar trends this year as the economic bounce back continues,” NAB group executive personal banking, Rachel Slade said.

The Commonwealth Bank of Australia also notes from merchant data that sales during the 2020 four-day Black Friday sales period were 10 per cent higher than in 2019, boding well for the 2021 effort.

“Shoppers across the country are increasingly taking advantage of the recent move towards pre-Christmas discounting and we would expect this trend to continue this year,” CBA’s head of consumer and diversified industries, Jerry Macey said.

NAB expects online and physical cash tills to ring up $5.5 billion around the country, with NSW setting the pace with a $1.74 billion splurge, followed by Victoria laying out $1.45 billion and Queensland spending $1.12 billon.

Australia Post is also gearing up for a frantic weekend as savvy shoppers take full advantage of the online sales and get their Christmas presents sorted in plenty of time before recommended last sending dates.

“We know people are keeping a close eye on the big online sales events and planning ahead for what they want to buy, so we’re expecting this year to be huge,” Australia Post’s Gary Starr said.