Black Friday a huge shopping day in the United States for many years but just in its infancy in South Africa, the Black Friday retail phenomenon has had mixed reviews. Promoted on the back of a tight economy, with consumers still having to factor in the increase in VAT to 15%, petrol hikes and the hiking of the repo rate by 25-basis points to 6.75 percent the day before, the event didn’t put a dampener on the enthusiasm of shoppers to find those fantastic bargains ahead of the festive season. Retailers also pulled out all the stops to attract shoppers, both online and to bricks and mortar stores, to spend their hard-earned cash ahead of the traditional festive season.
But did Black Friday deliver on its promises? It seems that not only is the South African version a bit of a distortion of the American one which focuses the discounts purely on Black Friday, South African retailers have stretched the promotion to include a number of combinations – all Fridays in November, the week ahead of Friday, post-Friday etc which somehow diluted its effect. Those who couldn’t be bothered to fight the traffic to get to stores and then elbow their way through clogged up stores turned to online shopping, which bodes well for the growth of this important alternate shopping option.
There are those that also say that the discounts, by and large, were not that spectacular and would have happened anyway as part of a retailer’s promotional plan in the lead-up to the festive season. But there were certainly some attention-grabbing specials that motivated people to take advantage of this new shopping experience and join the rush to buy…buy…buy!
According to the Black-Friday Global Analysis Team, it estimates that at least 66% of South Africans participated in Black Friday this year, in both online and offline shopping. Judging by the queues at midnight in some stores and the sight of flat-screen TV’s being snapped up, there were shoppers who managed to find once-in-a-lifetime bargains although the research shows that clothes were at the top of the buying list.
Tell us what you thought of this year’s Black Friday Bonanza – did you get some great bargains or was it a waste of time? Let us know how you feel about Black Friday?
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