SA's Black Friday queues are online in 2020, amid Covid-19 pandemic

Wendy Knowler Consumer journalist
While shoppers trickled in to physical stores early on Friday, online purchases are dominating Black Friday this year amid the Covid-19 pandemic.
While shoppers trickled in to physical stores early on Friday, online purchases are dominating Black Friday this year amid the Covid-19 pandemic.
Image: Darren Stewart

This year, many bargain-hungry SA shoppers are logging on to pay for their chosen goods online.

There may not be the usual crazy crowds of shoppers in stores this Black Friday, but many South Africans are sitting in online queues, waiting to pay.

With South Africans having embraced online shopping since the hard lockdown in March, and many fearing a lack of Black Friday crowd control in stores, the traditional frenzied shopper scenes in stores have not materialised this year.

“Also, our extended promotion, over four weeks, has been popular with customers and has in our view also reduced the weekend concentration of Black Friday shoppers,” said Massmart’s group corporate affairs executive Brian Leroni on Friday morning.

“We have also seen a marked uptick in click and collect orders of popular promotional lines.”

In those Game and Makro stores where shoppers are queuing, he said, “customers have been patient and friendly,” adding “Long may it last!” That’s a far cry from the scene which unfolded at Game in Century City, Cape Town, three years ago - a huge crowd stormed the store as doors opened at midnight, smashing the glass.

This year, many bargain-hungry shoppers are battling to pay for their chosen goods online.

Superbalist - part of the Takealot Group - which introduced SA to Black Friday back in 2012 - currently has a red notice on its site, warning: “Standard Bank and Absa cardholders are experiencing difficulty completing payment.”

Standard Bank refuted this, saying in response to a query from TimesLIVE that it "has ensured that all our systems and channels are available to our customers on Black Friday".

"We understand that it has been a challenging year for retailers and consumers and we want to ensure that our customers can take advantage of this discounted shopping day. All of our systems are operating efficiently and providing the necessary support."

If there are difficulties, the bank says: "Please refer your query to the retailer concerned."

GET IN TOUCH: Wendy Knowler specialises in consumer journalism. You can reach her via e-mail: consumer@knowler.co.za or on Twitter: @wendyknowler


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