The concept of Black Friday first appeared in South Africa around 2012. Before that, it was an all-American concept. Black Friday was reserved for the week after Thanksgiving in America to give shoppers incredibly cheap deals just before the Christmas holidays.
The initial methodology surrounding Black Friday
Stores prepared well in advance for Black Friday sales, which often turned brutal as shoppers competed for the one-day bargains.
South Africa adopted the same method of introducing Black Friday – offering special offers only one day a month – this was generally also in November, usually on the Friday after Payday, also in time for the December celebrations.
But the brutality seen by customers and the immense damage inflicted on store infrastructure has meant retailers have started to extend the timeframe for listing their sales. While the prices are not as low as they could be, they are lower than usual and generally over a week period.
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Insights into Black Friday spending over the past few years from FNB
Nollie Maoto, Chief Data and Analytics Officer for FNB Merchant Services, shared some insights into the buying patterns they’ve seen during the Black Friday period over the years.
“When Black Friday was limited to one day (particularly in 2018 and 2019), we saw a significant increase in sales from a value perspective, starting on the Monday before Black Friday. We’ve seen a 41% increase from 2018 to 2019 this week. Furthermore, we saw a similar trend on the actual day, Black Friday, with a 51.5% increase in sales from 2018 to 2019 on that day.
“Cyber Monday saw a 20% jump in revenue from 2018 to 2019. Looking at the value component between 2018 and 2019, the Monday through Thursday before Black Friday saw the largest sales volume between the four days, averaging 51% growth. On the actual day, Black Friday, volume was up 31% from 2018,” she explained.
2020: Worst Black Friday numbers
However, those numbers changed as the country was hit by the pandemic. According to Maoto, 2020 had the worst Black Friday sales in terms of value and volume due to the Covid-19 lockdown measures put in place in the country. And while 2021 recovered well, it still hadn’t matched the numbers from 2019 and 2018.
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“Looking for the full month of November 2021, we saw a 28% increase in sales value and 19% growth in sales volume compared to 2020, which had experienced negative growth in both sales value and growth. This figure surprisingly exceeded 2019 sales value and volume growth for the month of November,” she said.
Ecommerce: A Black Friday Champion
E-commerce was actually the Black Friday success story, and Maoto says it will continue its triumphant advance into 2022, seeing accelerated growth every year.
“Ahead of Black Friday week, e-commerce is already at almost 90% of 2021 values and volumes, with the travel and accommodation sector already exceeding 2021 levels by 10%,” Maoto said. “Black Friday and Cyber Monday have caused a noticeable surge even in the past two years, so we expect e-commerce values and volumes to be around 40% higher as we move into Black Friday week.” She concluded.
Absa reports spending of R60 billion
Meanwhile, Absa reported that it processed over R60 billion worth of transactions last Black Friday, a trend expected to continue this year.
With the first Black Friday outside lockdown restrictions in two years, Absa expects debit and credit card spending to continue to grow as South Africa’s busiest shopping season approaches.
“Following a record 200% increase in e-commerce levels in 2020 and a 231% increase in contactless debit and credit card volume in 2021, Absa is gearing up for another intense Black November. Last year, approximately 2.1 million Absa cardholders spent a whopping R1.3 billion on Black Friday, a 10.71% increase in spending on the day since 2020,” said Christine Wu, Managing Executive for Consumer Product at Absa Everyday Banking.
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“Undoubtedly supported by an ever-growing list of innovative payment options including Apple Pay, Garmin Pay, Samsung Pay, Fitbit Pay and QR Payments. With state-of-the-art payment options, we expect another busy Black Friday and indeed Black November,” Wu added.