The most expensive online transaction recorded on Black Friday in South Africa

Automated clearing house BankservAfrica has published data on Black Friday and Cyber Monday in South Africa, with in-store and online transaction volumes reflecting strong year-on-year growth.

The total number of transactions processed by BankservAfrica (in-store and online) amounted to just over 7 million in 2019 – up 36% from 5.2 million in 2018.

This translates to a total spend of R6 billion, a 106% increase on R2.9 billion 2018.

“When compared to 2018, it seems bargain hunters decided to get the best deals early with a 33% year-on-year increase in sales at midnight,” said Solly Bellingan, head of customer relations at BankservAfrica.

“The 12-hour period between 06h00 and 18h00 proved to be busiest with similar volumes being processed each hour.”

The highest number of transactions processed in a 60-minute period was between 10h00 and 11h00 at a volume of 595,792.

“3D-Secure, our online card authentication service (i.e. transactions that require a one-time pin), showed steady growth this year with a 32% year-on-year increase on Black Friday and transaction volumes reaching a total of 534,828,” said Bellingan.

The busiest shopping times were between 09h00 – 10h00 in 2019 compared to the earlier start in 2018 at 08h00 – 09h00.

BankservAfrica said that the most expensive online transaction recorded on Black Friday was for a hospitality purchase of R10,067,400 by an international company.

The most uses by one card was 83. At its peak, the group said it processed 717 transactions while the average was 371 per minute for the day.

Cyber Monday 

BankservAfrica said that Cyber Monday was less active than Black Friday with a 42% growth in online transactions that reached a volume of 249,908 in 2019 (up from 176,595 in 2018).

However, in both years, most of the transactions took place between 10h00 – 11h00 with the most expensive being R1,997,800 on 151 transactions by a single card.

The highest average transactions per minute was 322 at peak and 173 per minute for the day.

“This year’s Black Friday and Cyber Monday data mirrors the global data of record-breaking sales – and the BankservAfrica featured figures are only a portion of the entire sales figures for both days.

“It will be interesting to see if these manage to outpace festive season spend this year,” said Bellingan.

DPO South Africa, which claims to be South Africa’s largest payment service provider, said that the numbers and trends of Black Friday 2019 point to a more mature market and an industry that was better prepared.

“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. The buying patterns also show us that we are dealing with a more mature consumer,” said Peter Harvey, MD of the DPO Group – Southern Africa, which comprises of payments solutions PayGate, PayFast and SiD Secure EFT.

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

PayGate numbers showed that the daily transactional volume between Monday and Thursday was 50% greater than a normal trading day. Black Friday trading volumes spiked by 400%t, compared to an average trading day. Overall there was a 35% 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. 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,” he said.

Harvey said 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 said.

2019 Black Friday PayGate numbers at a glance:

  • 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 was 09h00 to 10h00 on Friday 29 November
  • 61% of traffic came from mobile phones, according to DPO Group company, PayFast

Read: Trouble ahead for the rand?

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The most expensive online transaction recorded on Black Friday in South Africa