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Prepare for click-and-mortar boom on Black Friday

Retailers and consumers are preparing for year-end online spending blowout, with ecommerce in South Africa expected to grow 169% post-pandemic

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Click-and-mortar retailers and domestic appliances are expected to be the big winners over the crucial November retail promotional season as consumers open their wallets and retailers pull out all the stops for Black Friday next week. This year, Black Friday will be like no other, thanks to the social distancing and economic dampening effects of the pandemic.

The promotional period will add further momentum to the dramatic growth in ecommerce adoption in South Africa throughout 2020. GfK’s point of sale data shows that 12.6% of technical goods (excluding telecoms products) sold in South Africa for the year to August were sold via ecommerce – up from 8.7 percent for 2018 and 9.2 percent in 2019.

For the first quarter of 2020 – before the national lockdown – 10.8 percent of technical goods (excluding telecoms products) were sold via ecommerce. For the period from May to August, this leapt to 13.4 percent. GfK is forecasting a 169 percent growth rate for the ecommerce channel post-COVID-19 (May – December 2020).

Omnichannel set to grow

“With consumers discouraged from cramming into shopping malls over the Black Friday and Cyber Monday weekend, e-commerce is likely to boom over November,” says Nicolet Pienaar, Head of Market Insights at GfK South Africa. “Retail chains that have established robust online shopping facilities and logistics engines are likely to be some of the biggest winners of the month.”

Says Pienaar: “Our research in Europe and South Africa shows that click and mortar retailers are well positioned in the pandemic – even more so than the pureplay ecommerce stores. Loyal buyers are putting their trust in the online presence of their preferred offline retailers. They feel that the physical presence of these stores means they can follow up with a human if they encounter any problems.”

This represents a pivotal moment for brands in the evolution of their omnichannel strategies, she adds. “The majority of consumers who increased their use of digital and omnichannel services, such as home delivery, curb-side pickup, click-and-collect or shopping via social media platforms will retain these habits, especially if they had a good experience,” says Pienaar.

Read more on the next page about how ‘need’ buying will become the prime focus among consumers this Black Friday.

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