Like it or not, Black Friday is officially a thing in South Africa – here’s why

 ·24 Nov 2016

While the end of November shopping frenzy is still relatively new in South Africa, local retailers, and consumers alike, are catching on quickly to the Black Friday trend.

In fact, Facebook data shows that Black Friday is South Africa’s busiest online shopping day of the year.

And , according to the Data Products team at Absa, card spend increased by 81% on Black Friday in 2015 when compared to sales on the average day throughout the year.

Black Friday originated in the US – its the Friday after Thanksgiving Thursday when retailers break with massively discounted merchandise.

The term is historically known in the American retail industry as the day on which business began to turn a profit (in the ‘black’) after having operated at a loss (in the ‘red’) since January.

Black Friday is also regarded as the official start of the Christmas shopping season.

According to Elizma Nolte, head of business marketing, Africa at Facebook, the day has become so profitable for retailers, that it’s been adopted by other parts of the world where Thanksgiving does not even exist.

“Facebook shopping data backs up the finding that Black Friday is becoming a South African trend, and like in the rest of the world, it’s starting earlier, and running for longer,” Nolte said.

As elsewhere, it’s predominantly driven by tech and e-commerce players, the likes of Makro and Game, Spree and Takealot, she said.

That said, Checkers claims to be the first retailer to have brough the concept of Black Friday to South Africa in 2014. The retailer said that it served more than one million customers on the day in 2015, while the group aims to make 2016 an even bigger event – ‘with 40% more products on offer than last year’.

Mentions of Black Friday among South African social media users leapt by more than 300% in 2015 according to digital customer engagement agency, 25AM. It noted that Checkers, Dionwired and Pick n Pay were the most talked-about brands on the day.

Many South Africans have taken to social media to complain that the deals aren’t good enough to be lumped into the Black Friday brand. However, a number of large retailers have promised discounts of between 50% – 80% for many items and products.

MyBroadband has compiled a list of a number of retailers who aim to cash in on Black Friday – find them here

Read: The good and bad about Black Friday in South Africa

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