South Africans split on online, offline stores on Black Friday

Admire Moyo
By Admire Moyo
Johannesburg, 09 Oct 2019

The average South African bargain-hunter is willing to pay R1 654 ($126) in total for their Black Friday shopping cart.

This is according to a new report by – a discounts provider – which surveyed 12 000 people from 55 countries. It created Black-Friday.Global, a company dedicated to Black Friday deals.

Black Friday will take place on 29 November.

In the beginning, Black Friday was a one-day event in the US. However, over the past few years, it has grown into a shopping marathon that lasts several days. It may sometimes start on Thursday and continue until the end of the week, or even month.

Data from instant EFT payment provider i-Pay last year revealed that while the total value of transactions online during Black Friday increased 700%, the average shopper spent less.

“Black Friday is now a phenomenon for a reason. Google’s data suggests that in the last five years, the interest of Internet users in this event has more than doubled. Every year, in almost every country, the shopping fever results in new sales records,” says Black-Friday.Global.

For several years, Black-Friday.Global analysts have been closely following Black Friday trends in SA and around the world.

Dual bargain bonanza

According to the study, 87% of South Africans know what Black Friday is, and 66% are willing to participate in the shopping spree this year. It notes that 64% of bargain-hunters will choose both online and offline sales.

An average South African will spend over R1 600 during Black Friday sales, with clothes, electronics and shoes as top bargain targets.

In SA, Google Trends data for 19-25 November 2018 shows one-third of all queries related to Black Friday sales were recorded on Friday (30.4%).

Nevertheless, Black-Friday.Global says the interest of customers starts to grow on Wednesday and fades on Saturday. This tendency is characteristic for not only SA but other countries as well, it notes.

The internal Black-Friday.Global data for 2018 in SA shows a 1 952% increase in sales compared to an ordinary day.

Such high numbers are common, it notes, pointing out that for example, in the UK the increase is 1 708%, in Ireland – over 1 852%, and in Germany – over 2 418%.

Unlike the US, citizens of other countries do not usually have a day off on Black Friday. Although peaks of online shopping activity in various countries are slightly different, generally they fall on the morning and evening, says Black-Friday.Global.

It notes that on the South African Internet, the intensity of shopping was at its peak between 8am and 11am in 2018.

On the other hand, it says, in countries like Turkey, Finland, Greece, Singapore, or Hong Kong, Black Friday seems to have been much-anticipated – based on the fact that most of the shopping was done right after midnight.

According to the survey, among South Africans who are going to take part in the Black Friday frenzy, 48% already know what to buy. As for the number of purchased items, it says, South Africans are going to buy 4.5 on average.

Past years’ statistics indicate the most popular categories of products among Black Friday shoppers in SA are clothing, shoes, groceries, electronics, as well as home appliances.

“Every year, the world press feeds us with dozens of photos of crowds besieging electronics stores. Surprisingly though, the results of our survey state that clothes, not electronics, are the actual apple of bargain-hunters’ eye. The consumer electronics category came second in our ranking. On the other side of the scale, books, sports accessories and underwear were the least popular items to buy.”

Mega savings

As the average discount in South African online stores reached 61% last year, when forecasting South Africans’ Black Friday 2019 expenses, it could translate into R2 587 of possible average savings, says Black-Friday.Global.

Around the world, fashion products take the lead during Black Friday. Nonetheless, the firm says in some countries like Brazil, Switzerland, India, Malaysia, or Romania, electronics prevail in shopping carts.

South Africans plan to take part in both online and brick-and-mortar sales, it notes, adding those who choose more than one channel are ready to spend around R1 735 ($123).

In other countries, shoppers have a smaller budget in mind, like Hongkongers ($83), Indonesians ($77) or Nigerians ($61).

In contrast, consumers who declare they will spend record-breaking amounts come from the US ($485), Canada ($430), UK ($397), Ireland ($339) and United Arab Emirates ($291).

According to the data from 2018, when shopping online during Black Friday, almost half (49.2%) of South African customers used desktops, 47.3% preferred desktops, and the remaining 3.5% chose tablets.

In most countries, purchasing with smartphones took the lead.