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Black Friday blitz begins

This year’s Black Friday sales will begin early in South Africa, helping push turnover 30% higher than 2018

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Black Friday will begin early this year in South Africa, as online retailers try to get in ahead of the November 29 rush to spend.

Leading fashion retailer, Superbalist, which first took part in Black Friday in 2014 and claims its Black Friday Showdown is SA’s biggest online fashion sale, has told its newsletter subscribers that Black Friday will happen sooner for shoppers this year, with early access Black Friday guaranteed deals on selected days in November.

Since 2014, it says, sales have more than doubled each year, and Black Friday 2018 saw record traffic to the site, generating more than over R40-million in revenue on the day.

South Africa’s largest payment service provider, PayGate, says its tracking of payments for Black Friday also shows the number of transactions doubling every year for the past three years. Payment clearing house BankservAfrica says it saw a 55% growth in transactions in 2018 compared to the previous year.  

PayGate expects 2019 Black Friday transactions to grow by 30% this year.  It says “local shoppers can expect a deal bonanza as retailers extend their number of sale days”. 

The shopping holiday originated in the US as the day after their Thanksgiving holiday when retail outlets would significantly reduce prices. This brick and mortar sale day was soon joined by Cyber Monday when online stores capitalised on the primed deal-hunting psyche of consumers at the end of the weekend. The two days have now blurred into one chaotic shopping sensation.  

Just how effective the marketing of this weekend is can be seen in the record-breaking numbers out of the US. In 2018, the US online sales alone hit $6.2 billion. 

“To be fair, South African ecommerce growth comes off a very low base,” says PayGate CSO, Brendon Williamson. “It has only been in the past three years or so that it has really taken off. This is largely driven by user behaviour and the massive ad spend thrown at the shopping day by the larger retailers.  We expect many of the local retailers will extend the sale days to more than just the weekend and may even spread it out over the week ahead of the official November 29 date. This will encourage those who receive their salary cheques on the 25th to get involved while they are still cash flush.”

Based on BanksServe Africa’s publically released figures, as well as its own analysis, says PayGate, in 2018 it processed 64% of Black Friday transactions. The company believes this could increase to as much as 70% in 2019.

While PayGate expects the sale days to be extended, it says that the size of the baskets will probably remain similar to 2018, with consumers aware of the event and saving up to take advantage of the prices – most especially for tech and hardware and appliances. 

Click here to read about how businesses are gearing up for the holiday.

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