Black Friday is showing an increasingly positive effect for SA retailers and brands, with social spend driving increased revenue, says Popimedia chief technology officer Gil Sperling.

Despite Black Friday being one of its more challenging days, online retailer takealot reported that R87m in gross merchandising value had been generated by the end of that day this year. Of this, R6m was generated in the first hour after midnight, despite some technical hitches that brought the site down at times. A record 2.2m visits to the site were recorded on Black Friday.

The big take-out: SA retailers and brands with social spend saw increased revenue on Black Friday, says Popimedia’s chief technology officer, Gil Sperling.

Takealot CEO Kim Reid called it “one heck of a day”, and apologised to customers who were disappointed with the amount of time the site was down.

The online retailer’s Blue Dot sale continued over the weekend. In the process this doubled its gross merchandising value from 2016, with a 70% increase in site traffic and number of orders.

During Black Friday in 2015, takealot earned R17.5m in turnover and in 2016 it earned R56m, according to Fin24. While the brand increased its Black Friday revenue by 55% year on year from 2016, Popimedia, the largest Facebook marketing partner on the African continent, reports that there was a 550% increase in social spend by brands for the day. The week leading up to Black Friday – Monday to Thursday – brought about a 144% increase in spend by brands, year on year, says Sperling.  

“Both brands and retailers paid increasing attention to promoting in-store sales through social media, and some brands called it ‘the new Christmas’,” says Sperling. “But what’s really interesting is that performance correlated to the increase in spend indicates that the market is not yet saturated. This means there’s still further opportunity for growth, and we expect that 2018 will show continued strong social growth trends.”  

Sperling reports that the click-through rate for one leading retailer showed prolific intent action and represented the power of campaigns that were run. “Normal [click-through rate] ranges between 0.5 and 3%. We were delivering click-through rates of over 60% within an hour of being live.”   

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