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Black Friday, Cyber Monday, shot the lights out

The numbers are in, and it shows that the start of holiday season shopping in South Africa saw spectacular growth



A better sense of online sales by themselves can be gleaned from the data gathered by DPO South Africa, South Africa’s largest payment service provider and owner of the PayGate and Payfast payment solutions.

“It is clear that Black Friday and Cyber Monday are here to stay. South African shoppers have embraced the event and have planned well in advance this year” says Peter Harvey, MD of the DPO Group in Southern Africa, which comprises payments solutions PayGate, PayFast and SiD Secure EFT. “The buying patterns also show us that we are dealing with a more mature consumer.”

Harvey says merchants kicked off the shopping holiday earlier this year, running specials from Sunday to Thursday night, ahead of the main event on Friday 29 November. 

PayGate numbers show that the daily transactional volume between Monday and Thursday was 50 percent greater than a normal trading day. Black Friday trading volumes spiked by 400 percent, compared to an average trading day. Overall, there was a 35 percent year-on-year transactional volume growth for the Black Friday and Cyber Monday shopping week.

The average transactional value per basket this year was R1,406, compared with R1,502 in 2018. 

“This statistic speaks to the fact that the consumer went into the shopping extravaganza with a plan this year.,” says Harvey. “Overall, we saw a more educated market who knew what they were doing. They picked up on the opportunities ahead of time, did their homework and worked the specials. The early start on the sale offerings also saw shoppers picking up on specials and not gambling on last minute deals that they may otherwise miss in the frenzy of Friday shopping.”

Harvey says the industry also benefited from better preparedness this year.

“The industry as a whole was much more resilient and, bar a few glitches that could have been Internet load related, there was no noticeable downtime. Despite the large increase in checkouts, PayGate was able to comfortably deal with the extra traffic, hitting 353 transactions per second (TPS), compared to around just under 100 TPS last year,” he says. 

Harvey says that the rest of Africa is showing significant interest in how Black Friday and Cyber Monday is playing out in South Africa. He believes digital retailers to the north will kick off a sustained Black Friday drive in 2020. 

“Our Group CEO and the DPO executive team traveled down from Nairobi to spend the day with us. African digital retailers are certainly paying attention, and the lessons learned from South Africa gives them a great head start when it comes to rolling out their own initiatives next year.”

“Overall the 2019 Black Friday experience has been a great success. The South African consumer has shown that they are savvy shoppers and our banking and payment industry is ready to meet the challenge as digital commerce continues to grow. Merchants can take heart knowing that there is still some fat in the market and should be planning now to ensure they capitalise on the upcoming festive season.” 

DPO provided the following data from PayGate numbers:

Year-on-year growth 2018 to 2019

  • Monday through Thursday (25 to 28 November) volume: up 50% 
  • Black Friday (29 November) year-on-year volume growth: up 400%
  • Eight-day Black Friday, Cyber Monday shopping event volume growth: up 35%
  • Highest measured transactions per second (TPS) grows from 100 to 353: up 253%
  • Card transactions: up 35%
  • Instant EFT transaction: up 30%
  • First hour of Black Friday transactions (midnight to 1am 29 November): up 33%
  • The busiest hour of trade: 09h00 to 10h00 on 29 November
  • 61% of traffic came from mobile phones

Visit the next page to see how South Africans shopped online at and Superbalist.


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