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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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3D printing set for $20bn boom

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3D printing is starting to be realized in a wide variety of industries, but its potential in the aerospace and defense industry is significant. The 3D printing industry was worth $3bn in 2013 and grew to $7bn in 2017. By 2025, the market is forecast to account for more than $20bn in spend, according to GlobalData, a leading data and analytics company.

The company’s report, ‘3D Printing in Aerospace & Defence – Thematic Research’, reveals that most major militaries and companies are exploring options with the technology. Some are still in the testing phase, while others are deploying the technology in final production. This is particularly true in the aerospace industry, where engines, aircraft and satellites are currently using 3D-printed components.

Listed below are the militaries that have taken an early lead in implementing 3D printing technology, as identified by GlobalData.

US Marine Corps

The US Marine Corps currently has the highest uptake of 3D printing of any military service worldwide. In particular, the additive manufacturing team at Marine Corps Systems Command has created the world’s largest 3D concrete printer with the ability to print a 500-square-foot barracks hut in 40 hours.

US Air Force

The US Air Force is integrating 3D printing into its supply chain. Overseen by ‘America Makes’, the US national additive manufacturing/3D printing innovation institute, it is investigating how current systems can be used to reproduce aircraft components for decades-old planes that may no longer have reliable sources of replacement parts, without minimum order quantities.

US Navy

The Navy has created new logistical units such as Navy frontline attachments, which can rapidly create spare parts for incredibly complex military equipment such as the F-35B – and are currently operational for this purpose. The navy has also worked with Oak Ridge National laboratory to produce the first 3D-printed submarine hull.

US Army

The US Army is working on 3D-printed, modular drone systems. The army wants 3D printers that can be deployed to a forward base camp and used to produce aviation backup when necessary for troops on the ground. This plan aims to create bespoke unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) systems and is said to be at an advanced stage of development.

Chinese Air Force

A 3D Systems ProJet 4500 printer has been acquired by the Chinese army and has been working on replacement military truck parts for the army’s fuel tanker fleet. A number of Chinese fighter jets are believed to be carrying 3D-printed parts and are currently in operation.

Russian Army

Russia has been testing multiple applications for 3D-printed parts in its newest main battle tank, the T-14 Armata. During the development process, 3D printing was used for prototyping, but it is expected that parts will be used in the final product, of which 2,300 have been ordered.

South Korean Air Force

Collaboration between South Korea’s InssTEK and France’s Z3DLAB is producing parts for South Korean warplanes that see heavy use along the border with North Korea. The aim is to upgrade existing components, rather than replace worn parts, with a new titanium composite material.

Information based on GlobalData’s report: ‘3D Printing in Aerospace & Defence – Thematic Research’.

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SA productivity could nosedive on Black Friday

Employee productivity on Black Friday could nose dive, says local online retailer, OneDayOnly.co.za

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Finance Minister Tito Mboweni hasn’t had it easy lately. Amidst a more-than-tricky economy and having to walk the tight rope in his recent mid-term budget speech, Tito is squeezed between a rock and a very hard place that’s about to get tighter with Black Friday inspired employee procrastination.

“While the minister probably has bigger fish to fry than South Africans avoiding spreadsheets in favour of scooping a deal on Samsung’s latest flat screen – Black Friday undoubtedly affects employees’ focus at work,” says Matthew Leighton, spokesperson at leading South African e-tailer OneDayOnly.co.za .

While it started as a post-Thanksgiving blowout sale by US retailers, Black Friday has become one of the most significant calendar days for consumers and the retail industry globally. “The proof is in the OneDayOnly.co.za stats. Last year, we recorded over 150 000 website users on Black Friday alone – the average on a regular day is around 60 000 and on a high traffic day such as pay day its approximately 80 000,” says Leighton.

So the demand is clearly there but are people actually doing the bulk of their Black Friday buying while they should be working? Leighton says they are. “Although the sale starts at midnight people are online throughout the day and data from last year shows traffic on OneDayOnly.co.za spiking primarily during core working hours – 06:00, 8:00, 11:00 and 15:00.

He adds that the average user session – or time people spend on the site at any one point – is three times longer on Black Friday than any other day. “In addition to spending longer on the site on Black Friday, customers also return many times during the day so these longer sessions happen numerous times during the work day.”

To add to Tito’s woes, Leighton explains that people are also multi-screening their buying efforts by watching social platforms for tips and prompts. “Most online retailers worth their salt share prompts on social feeds to drive traffic to their websites. Last year, each time we announced via social that a 100% off deal was available shoppers flocked to OneDayOnly.co.za. Almost instantly, the web traffic would spike. The pattern shows how closely people keep an eye on the 100% off deal drops via social media, as well as how effectively the platforms cater to a very wide audience in real time.”

But while Black Friday may result in the odd deadline being missed, Leighton believes the overall impact on the economy is an extremely positive one. “Last year we saw people spending in the region of R1300 on Black Friday, compared to an average of R970 on other days. According to BankServ, South Africans’ card transactions came up to R3bn on the day last year, up 16% from 2017. That’s a nice injection into an otherwise depressed retail sector.”

Leighton says people love Black Friday because there is something in it for everyone, but there’s also nothing to lose – except for maybe a bit of work time. “With so many more products available at low prices, it makes sense to peruse. If you find nothing you like, you are no worse off. And your boss doesn’t have to be either if you’re proactive and shop before work when our doors open at midnight.”

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