A customer has three Tv's in her trolley during the Black Friday sale at Game in Rosebank. Picture: ROXANNE HENDERSON
A customer has three Tv's in her trolley during the Black Friday sale at Game in Rosebank. Picture: ROXANNE HENDERSON

Black Friday has become big business in SA: a day most brands cannot afford to ignore and an ideal opportunity for retailers to make significant difference to the bottom line – pushing sales, boosting results and outperforming competitors that don’t take part.

Marius van Rensburg, executive creative director at advertising agency 99c, which is responsible for Checkers’ advertising, says that after a tough economic year many consumers are waiting for Black Friday to do their Christmas shopping. “That’s at the top end of the market. On the lower end, consumers will probably be pooling their resources to take advantage of specials on goods such as groceries, which will help them to budget as we go into the busy festive season,” he predicts.

South Africans have bought into the Black Friday phenomenon wholeheartedly, evident in the way that retailers push Black Friday more and more every year, he says. “I suspect 2018 will be the biggest yet as far as store participation goes.”

One of the advantages of Black Friday is the opportunity for brands to get consumers in store, even those who typically avoid shopping, says Van Rensburg. It’s about drawing them in with a great deal and then getting them to maximise their spending as they’re exposed to the other specials on offer. Another is that it results in a sizeable boost in sales that would usually take weeks to achieve.

SA is not the only African country where Black Friday is gaining traction. According to Christele Chokossa, senior research analyst at market research provider Euromonitor International, Black Friday is increasingly being recognised across the continent. It was piloted locally by online retailer Takealot in 2012 in SA, with Checkers following suit in 2014, though Black Friday only reached its current heights in 2015. Online retailers such as Jumia pioneered Black Friday in the rest of Sub-Saharan Africa, with the first Nigerian Black Friday taking place in 2013.

However, while Black Friday and Cyber Monday are becoming more popular in Sub-Saharan Africa, the deals offered by local retailers still fail to compare favourably to Black Friday offers in other regions, particularly the United States, says Chokossa.

Despite this she predicts that Black Friday and Cyber Monday will ultimately become as important, if not more important, than the Christmas holidays in terms of shopping days, with consumers showing increasing interest in online shopping. Many SA shoppers have already changed their purchasing patterns by shifting their Christmas shopping to November to capitalise on Black Friday discounts. As a result, many retailers have relooked their strategic direction to increase and maintain traffic during this time.

A good sales performance during this time of the year puts a retailer in a strong position for the next year, says Euromonitor International’s Amanda Bourlier. Conversely, weak performance during the end-of-year shopping season puts the retailer in a difficult position, especially if they have had a mediocre year.

Bourlier says consumers shop differently over the holiday season. The fact that they’re often pressed for time means they are open to trying new services that could save them time and visiting retailers that they wouldn’t normally go to. So the holiday season is an important time to target consumers by promoting new services and channels, she says.

The big take-out

Look out for Redzone Black Friday specials on silver, gold and digital memberships, including a 25% discount on digital membership.

Most major retailers realise the importance of taking part in Black Friday, agrees Klyne Maharaj, head of brand at Superbalist. For online retailers, it’s an excellent way to attract new customers, specifically those who haven’t shopped online before.

According to Maharaj, consumers are becoming increasingly more comfortable with online shopping.While it’s still new to many South Africans, Black Friday offers a great opportunity for first-time shoppers to try online shopping.”

According to the 2019 Online Retail Report, he says, e-commerce growth has stayed above 20% since 2003; this growth is expected to reach 25% in 2018, despite challenging economic conditions. The category is experiencing rapid growth – the report estimates that 4% of South Africans are shopping online, and will spend R14bn online this year.

One of the reasons for the rapid growth of online shopping locally is the rise of shopping via new channels such as mobile. “Because most e-commerce stores now offer mobile-friendly sites and apps, having access to a laptop is no longer a prerequisite for online shopping,” Maharaj says.

South Africans love a good deal, says Maharaj. Black Friday provides them with an opportunity to do all their Christmas shopping in one go and get great deals at the same time. “It’s hardly a mystery as to why Black Friday has spread like wildfire in the local market.”

Look out for Redzone’s Black Friday specials on silver, gold and digital memberships. Redzone will be offering a 25% discount on its digital membership, which offers exposure on the website in the form of banners, native content, profiles and vodcasts.

Silver and gold memberships – which offer digital exposure together with tickets to all Tiso Blackstar events, research, print advertising and media training – are available at a 40% discount.

For more information on Redzone’s Black Friday deals, click here.