Lockdown shopping redolent of Black Friday

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South Africans queue for supplies outside a Makro store in Woodmead, Sandton, on Wednesday (March 25 2020). Picture: Rosetta Msimango/City Press
South Africans queue for supplies outside a Makro store in Woodmead, Sandton, on Wednesday (March 25 2020). Picture: Rosetta Msimango/City Press

The day before the nationwide lockdown set in, South Africans went on a spending spree to rival Black Friday.

South Africa’s four biggest banks – Nedbank, FNB, Capitec and Absa – have not yet been able to provide definitive figures, but said they saw enormous increases in transaction volumes on Thursday – especially at supermarkets, grocery stores and pharmacies.

Transaction volumes of retail banks usually skyrocket in the run-up to Black Friday and on the day itself, when South Africans go bargain hunting.

It was comparable with Black Friday
Cowyk Fox, head of bank business, retail and business banking services at Absa

According to a report issued by BankservAfrica at the end of 2019, transaction volumes for Black Friday in 2019 came to 7 million. This represents an increase of 36% on a year-on-year basis. Total Black Friday-related transactions amounted to R6 billion in 2019, a 106% increase over 2018.

Dayalan Govender, managing executive of cards, payments and transaction at Nedbank, said the bank saw transaction volumes on Thursday similar to those in the lead-up to Black Friday and on the day itself.

FNB’s transaction volumes on Thursday were double what they were on the corresponding day last year. “We saw an enormous increase, especially for this time of the year,” said Thokozani Dlamini, CEO of FNB merchant services.

Standard Bank did not want to comment on card-specific transactions, but said it had noticed high transaction volumes at its ATMs on Thursday as well as on Friday, when the lockdown had already come into effect.

Capitec said its figures similarly showed transaction volumes akin to Black Friday.

According to Cowyk Fox, head of bank business, retail and business banking services at Absa, there was a significant increase in card transaction at sales points on Thursday.

“It was comparable with Black Friday.”


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