Online window into Black Friday 2023 spend trends

Simnikiwe Mzekandaba
By Simnikiwe Mzekandaba, IT in government editor
Johannesburg, 24 Nov 2023
Local consumers are expected to spend R26.6 billion this Black Friday, boosted by online purchases.
Local consumers are expected to spend R26.6 billion this Black Friday, boosted by online purchases.

Fintech firm Peach Payments has unveiled an online dashboard that allows users to track, in real-time, the spending patterns of South African shoppers over this year’s Black Friday.

This, as local consumers are expected to spend R26.6 billion during Black Friday 2023, up from R19 billion in 2022, based on data from the Bureau of Market Research.

The dashboard’s metrics show the number of transactions processed via the payment service provider, payment methods used, provincial breakdown and a ticker of transactions happening by rand value.

Based on the figures supplied by the dashboard, at the time of writing, the biggest purchase between midnight and 9am was for R156 757, from a merchant in the online travel industry.

The number of total transactions was at 201 460, with Gauteng leading in terms of merchant transaction statistics by province. The highest transaction so far was recorded at 5am.

The figures are expected to change during the course of the day, as more South Africans take to online channels.

“The aim is to help merchants and consumers get a handle on the sheer volume of online payments that South Africa’s economy is supporting,” says Joshua Shimkin, head of SME growth and marketing at Peach Payments.

“As South Africa’s second-largest online payment service provider, we wanted to provide a snapshot of the overall volume of business. We believe that if merchants and consumers see how big the trend is, it will build consumer confidence and help merchants scale their businesses.

“Part of our aim is to improve education and awareness around online payments, which go beyond retail and include B2B [business-to-business] payments and other disbursements.”

Online payments provider PayFast last year also introduced an online dashboard, in a move to show the spending patterns of South African shoppers during Black Friday and Cyber Monday 2022.

Tread with caution

Popularised in the US, Black Friday has been embraced globally in recent years and is regarded as the start of the festive shopping season. It takes place after the US Thanksgiving holiday, and marks the day when retailers move into profitable territory (the black).

The day has also become synonymous with cyber crime incidents, with criminals creating online traps to lure shoppers looking for bargains.

PayFast noted the number of transactions on Black Friday 2022 increased by 20% year-on-year. According to consumer market research company GfK, online channels accounted for around 15% of sales over the Black Friday period in 2022.

According to PwC, increased online shopping carries amplified cyber risks, with growing mobile handset usage and electronic payments opening up new avenues for cyber attacks.

The fraudulent campaigns aimed at capitalising on services offered during Black Friday and Cyber Monday include phishing e-mails, counterfeit websites, social engineering attacks, data breaches, payment fraud, identity theft and unsecured WiFi networks, says PwC.

Hamil Bhoora, PwC South Africa cyber security leader, comments that shoppers should exercise caution when participating in online buying, as they become vulnerable to unscrupulous characters.

“To mitigate these risks, shoppers can take precautions like verifying website legitimacy and security before making a purchase, using secure payment methods and avoiding using public WiFi for transactions, checking reviews about sellers, and keeping their preferred devices updated with the latest secure software.”