Black Friday loses its novelty as South Africans' cash dry up

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Black Friday appears to be losing its novelty for South African consumers, with the number of shoppers staying up late to for deals dropping.

Fintech company PayU said shopper preferences have changed in times of shopping times, basket size and payment methods. This is despite transaction volumes increasing by 30% this year, and total spend for the day rising by 6%, compared to 2020.

However, Karen Nadasen, CEO of PayU South Africa and chairperson of the E-commerce Forum of South Africa, said shoppers are buying more products, but Covid-19 has resulted in the average basket size shrinking by 22%.  

She added that the way shoppers approach Black Friday is not the same as they used to, with the experience changing every year.

"Last year we saw a 33% drop in volume compared to 2019, in that first hour of trading between 00:00 and 01:00, and this year we saw an additional 6% drop.

"This seems to stem from last year's disappointing Black Friday experience where many shoppers felt the good deals simply didn't materialise, and, of course, the fact that people have less money," Nadasen explained.

She added that in 2020, many retailers extended their Black Friday deals throughout November, noting Takealot’s Blue Dot Sale as a favourite for shoppers. But she said the extended deals have "reduced the novelty of Black Friday slightly". 

With regards to new payment trends, Nadasen said credit cards are the most used form of payment, but the use of other credit options like Mobicred, Payflex and RCS is growing. Black Friday brings in 258% of overall trading value of a normal online shopping day in November, the CEO said.

Consumers are also using alternative credit options and spending their loyalty points to pay for their shopping, with the Discovery Miles D-Day promotion seeing a 10% increase in member spend.

Category fluctuations

  • Fashion and electronics grew by 19%;
  • Beauty declined by 31% and health by 34%; and
  • Delivery services also enjoyed a lot of growth, as demand for grocery and takeaways rose.


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