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Black Friday Insight | Frontline Research Group

By Kevin Abraham - Sep 6, 2019
Black Friday Insight | Frontline Research Group

Port Elizabeth - Retail had high hopes for Black Friday, November 23. However, in traditional stores, results weren’t as good as expected: A 10% drop in spending and a 2% drop in sales volumes compared to 2017. [Vend]

It wasn’t as if consumers didn’t get the message, they did. Discounts, too, were on or above par with 2017.

In contrast, online shopping seems to have done very well. BankservAfrica, Africa’s largest automated payments clearing house, reported that online sales comfortably exceeded figures for 2017.

Why? Well, there was a tendency for in-store shoppers to focus on the big box traders, perhaps at the expense of the many smaller retailers. Shoppers headed for the nationals, and the independents felt the pain. In particular, fashion, health and beauty stores. For them, Black Friday flopped, even though they offered very good deals.

At the same time, more South Africans went online than ever before. Zando, one of the bigger online retailers, reported record sales. They cited drivers such as consumer appreciation of the variety of goods available, excellent discounts, and a single point of reference for a wide range of different brands and categories.

Categories focused on included, as you probably guessed – mainly fashion, health, and beauty.

So while it is true that traditional retail stores still dominate the South African market, there is strong evidence pointing to accelerated growth of online shopping. Consumers are waking up to the benefits of the online option, and as they gain confidence, the system will grow.

The wise retailer will do well to think about how to tap into online shopping sooner rather than later. There is clearly significant potential in this sector.

Kevin Abraham is a Research consultant and founding member of The Frontline Research Group, an Africa wide research facility.

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