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Huge growth in SA electronics on Black Friday

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South African retailers saw strong sales during the week of Black Friday this year. Panel television unit sales experienced 47% growth and smartphone sales leaped 63% compared to the same week in 2016, according to point of sale tracking data from GfK South Africa.

The value of panel televisions sold during the week was up 41% over the comparable week in 2016, while the value of smartphone sales climbed by 34%.

The growth in panel television sales built on massive success in 2016, when sales during the Black Friday week climbed 105% over 2015 and value rose by 111%. Smartphones enjoyed an even stronger Black Friday week in 2017 than in 2016, when unit sales went up 18% and value rose by 31%.

Traditional retailers claimed the lion’s share of Black Friday week sales, accounting for 98.3% of television units sold and 97.2% of the value of televisions sold during the week. Online retailers grew their Black Friday TV sales by 32% and their TV revenues by 36%, accounting for 1.7% of units sold and 2.8% of value.

Online retail accounted for 2% of smartphone unit sales and 4% of value for the week, a growth of 72% and 47% respectively. Around 98% of smartphone sales and 96% of smartphone value went through offline retail.

“This was the strongest Black Friday to date for consumer electronic sales in South Africa and it confirms that this US-imported sales frenzy is now a massive day in the annual retail calendar. While online Black Friday sales remain small compared to those through physical retail, they are growing and ecommerce retailers enjoy larger transaction sizes than physical stores,” says Nikolay Dolgov, General Manager, Point of Sales Tracking at GfK South Africa.

“We have seen similar Black Friday trends unfold in South Africa to those observed in markets such as the UK—including the event stretching into a week-long festival of specials and promotions, and a move among retailers to offer specials on highly desired phones, computers and TVs during the week rather than simply trying to shift old stock.”

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AppDate: Shedding light in our times of darkness

SEAN BACHER’S app roundup highlights two load-shedding apps, along with South AfriCAM, NBA 2K Mobile, Virgin Mobile’s Spot 3.0 and SwiftKey.

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Load Shedding Notifier

With all the uncertainty about when South Africans will next be plunged into darkness by Eskom, the Load Shedding Notifier tries its best to keep up with Eskom’s schedule. The app is very simple to use. Download it, type an area in and click the save button. The app automatically tells you what load shedding stage Eskom is on, the times you can expect to start lighting candles and for how long to burn them.

Multiple areas can be added and one can switch between the different stages to see how each one will affect a certain area.

A grid status is also displayed, showing how strained the country’s electrical network is.

Platform: Android and iOS

Expect to pay: A free download

Stockists: Visit the store linked to your device

EskomSePush Load Shedding App

EskomSePush does much the same as the Load Shedding Notifier, but allows multiple cities to be tracked. However, they may just want to rethink the name of the app if they want wider respectability.

Platform: Android and iOS

Expect to pay: A free download

Stockists: Visit the store linked to your device

South AfriCAM

South AfriCAM enables users to add branded stickers and frames from popular lifestyle magazine titles to their posts, including Huisgenoot, YOU, Drum, Move!, TRUE LOVE, Women’s Health and Men’s Health. 

In the process, they can earn JETPoints for their social influence: through the app’s built-in JET8 social currency, users are rewarded for their engagement. For every in-app like, comment, and share, users earn JETPoints, which can be used to redeem products online or over the counter across more than 2 500 retail stores in South Africa. Users are additionally awarded JETPoints for cross-posting onto external social media networks.

Platform: Android and iOS

Expect to pay: A free download

Stockists: Visit the store linked to your device

Click here to read about console quality graphics on a mobile phone, Virgin Money payments made easier, and an app that redesigns the keyboard.

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Drones to drive
Western Cape agritech

Aerobotics is set to change how farmers treat their crops by using drones and machine learning, writes BRYAN TURNER.

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The Western Cape is poised to be a hotbed of innovation in the agritech sector, with drone piloting set to playing a major role in in the tech start-up scene.

This is the view of Tim Willis, chief operating officer of pioneering drone company Aerobotics, a Cape Town drone company recognised as a world leader in agritech.

“Drone piloting is a key skill that feeds into the value chain of the budding 4th Industrial Revolution,” said Willis. “Cape Town and the Western Cape is uniquely positioned to be the melting pot for innovation in the agritech sector, as a leading agricultural exporter and a hub for creative tech start-ups.”

He was speaking at AeroCon, a drone expo organised by Aerobotics and held in Johannesburg this week aimed at providing opportunities for drone pilots to apply their skills in South Africa, and to show how drones are being used to collect data on crops. 

The event was supported by the South African Civil Aviation Authority (SACAA), Wesgro, PROMMAC, MicaSense, and Rectron, among other

“We’re starting to sign up farmers across the country,” said Willis. “It’s exciting because farmers are starting to use drone technology on their farms. When a farmer wants a drone flown, they want it flown [now] so it’s important for us to capture that data as quickly as possible to show that drones are fast and effective.”

According to aerobotics, drone technology can help farmers reduce pesticide use on their crops by up to 30%. The result is environmentally friendly farming, reducing stressed crops and a healthier harvest. 

“We use aerial imagery from drones to recreate a 3D model of every single tree on a farmer’s orchard,” said Willis. “We’ve done this for millions of trees and it starts to give the farmers metrics of what they’re doing. We provide them with the health of the trees, the height, the volume, the canopy area, which enable the farms to make decisions on what to do next.”

Click here to read more about AeroCon and what it offers to those wanting to get into the drone industry.

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