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Malls slowed on Black Friday – but won the week

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Each year consumers across South Africa wait upon Black Friday specials with bated breath, scouring store leaflets leading up to the day in order to ensure they locate the best retail deals. Although purchases are also being made online with the ensuing rise of e-commerce, consumers across the socio-economic scale still opt to visit shopping malls. Lightstone, the provider of comprehensive data, analytics and business assets, follows on from their previous insights around the uplift of visits to Fourways Mall following their re-launch, with these insights on the impact of Black Friday 2019:  

Although the visits decreased by 2% on the day compared to Black Friday 2018, the Black Friday week (25 November – 1 December) increased by 14% on the previous year’s Black Friday week.  The views were based on data provided by Tracker, covering a large portion of Tracker-fitted vehicles from across the country, which was analysed (on an aggregated and anonymised level) by Lightstone

“Also, when making a comparison between Black Friday week and ‘normal’ month-end week a 27% increase was recorded,” says Linda Reid, Head of Commercial at Lightstone. “It is a smart strategy from retailers to extend the specials over an entire week in order to allow consumers more opportunity to take advantage of the specials – probably resulting in additional mall visits and sales.”  Across the 30 popular malls that were included in the analysis, all except two showed that the Black Friday week was more popular than last year’s week.  However, only about a third of the malls did better on the actual Black Friday day than they did last year.

As mentioned, consumers across the socio-economic sphere visit shopping malls on the day, however only a minimal increase of 3,5% is measured with affluent consumers in comparison to the lower LSM market which increased by a substantial 22,7% compared to Black Friday 2018. “This is especially relevant in light of taxis and busses travelling 28% further this year than on Black Friday in 2018”, says Michael Du Preez, Executive Product and Marketing at Tracker.  The aggregated data analysing driver behaviour illustrates that although ecommerce traffic is increasing, many consumers are still drawn to the in-store experience, where customer service and the ability to test out a product before purchasing remain prevalent.  

“In our analysis a couple of weeks ago, Lightstone measured the newly revamped Fourways Mall’s visitor activities which at this stage is lackluster in comparison to the Mall of Africa,” says Reid. “However, a whopping 47% increase was recorded in visits to the mall on Black Friday compared to Black Friday last year (admittedly when the mall was not yet fully reopened).”

Other noteworthy increases were Northgate Shopping Centre with 28%, Protea Glen with 27% and Liberty Midlands with a 26% increase. Other well-known shopping destinations like Sandton City, Mall of Africa and Menlyn Park did not achieve as many visits on the day as they did in 2018.

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