How Black Friday changed shopping patterns

28 November 2019 - 10:29
By Mpho Sibanyoni
South African shoppers can't get enough of Black Friday specials. /supplied
South African shoppers can't get enough of Black Friday specials. /supplied

Black Friday, which became an annual shopping tradition for bargain hunters two years ago in SA, has dramatically changed the behaviour of consumers over festive period.

Statistics show that consumer patterns have tilted as many people now prefer to do most of their December and January shopping in November. This has resulted in a number of companies opting to dedicating more than one day to the Black Friday.

"Of course Black Friday has changed buying patterns. It brings forward into November the retail sales that were supposed to take place in December," said economist Azar Jammine.

"This means December becomes a less dramatic time for shopping and some people can go on holiday knowing that they have bought their Christmas presents ahead of the holiday."

Jammine said though Black Friday largely benefited consumers, to the detriment of retailers.

However, retailers preferred to be part of the Black Friday as they might lose out, he said.

"People would rush off to buy stuff for Christmas, resulting in the profit margins of retailers becoming less. This means many consumers won't buy stuff in December, resulting in retailers making less profit as a retailer.

He, however, warned consumers to avoid the temptation of buying perishable goods on credit as they might later struggle to service the debt.

FNB's Thabiso Mamathuba, quoting research from Black Friday Global Data, said data for 2018 in SA shows a 1 952% increase in sales compared to an ordinary day.

"Such high numbers are not uncommon. For example, in the UK the increase is 1 708%, in Ireland over 1,852%, and in Germany an increase in over 2,418% in sales," Mamathuba said. He said the data also showed that an average discount in SA has decreased marginally, consumers could tell if they were getting a bargain.