People walk by a shop during Black Friday sales. Picture: REUTERS/JEENAH MOON
People walk by a shop during Black Friday sales. Picture: REUTERS/JEENAH MOON

Payment services provider DPO SA has reported a more than 30% increase in first-time online shoppers and strong growth in both transaction volume and value during this year’s Black Friday.

Data from PayGate (a subsidiary of DPO Group) indicates a 43.4% year-on-year increase in the volume of transactions for Black Friday this year. The total value of transactions for the day’s trade grey by 46.8% compared to 2020. Cyber Monday on November 29 also grew, with a 23.8% increase in transactional volume and a 25.6% increase in transactional value, traded on the day.

DPO SA MD Peter Harvey says the 2021 figures are positive given that they come off an already strong 2020 performance. “Consistent growth like this should give many traditional local businesses the confidence to invest in digital offerings to expand their reach.”

He says a 32% growth in first-time card transactions – which suggests new or first-time online shoppers – is excellent news for retailers and indicates a growing trust in online shopping, which underscores a maturing market.

Consumers were shopping later in the day on Black Friday this year rather than the early-morning peaks seen in previous years, indicating that the days of people waiting up until midnight to rush online to snap up available stock seems to be over. “As SA shoppers become more accustomed to the retail event they are getting more strategic. So too are merchants, with most offering some clear loss leaders to entice shoppers onto their site and then capitalising on consumers filling their baskets with only marginally discounted products,” says Harvey.

Research firm Ask Afrika’s research largely corroborates PayGate data. Kendall Rÿnders, head of customer experience at Ask Afrika, says SA consumers appeared to have made the most of Black Friday deals, with 75% of its Power Panel sample making purchases on Friday and over the weekend.

Ask Afrika’s research indicates that the categories shopped differ between in-store and online, with groceries being the most shopped category overall (79%) and clothing being the most shopped category online (62%). Electronics came second overall and online.

Those who chose not to participate in Black Friday did so largely due to financial pressures, with 50% of Ask Afrika’s sample panel saying they did not have money available, while 24% did not participate in Black Friday for fear of contracting Covid. 

It appears that once a customer has participated in Black Friday the chances that they will participate in future years are high, with 79% of the sample having participated in Black Friday in the previous year.

The top three offers that drove customers to participate in Black Friday, says Ask Afrika, were percentage discounts (26%), half-off offers (26%) and “buy one get one free” specials (22%).

Rÿnders says consumers were using different channels to find their bargains and different channels to make their purchases. The majority of customers (88%) went the traditional route and made their purchases in-store, while 44% made their purchases online and 24% via an app.

The big take-out:

After a tough year financially, consumers took advantage of Black Friday with growth in online transactions.

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