Over the years, Black Friday has grown by leaps and bounds with more retailers and shopping centres jumping on the bandwagon to offer South African consumers bang for their buck, while creating an exciting environment to shop in.
Lebogang Mokubela, founder of the Lemok Group, says that Black Friday is one of the ways SA retail can make shopping centres ‘exciting’ again.
“Black Friday in South Africa really started to gain momentum in 2015. Even then, retailers were unsure of the motives behind the sale that has now expanded from America, where it originated, to more than 50 major countries worldwide. Is it to gain foot-traffic? Is it to get rid of dead stock? Black Friday is more of a marketing strategy than sales figures in my opinion. Even so, SA retail needs such campaigns in order to ignite excitement in consumers. It’s a way to create exclusivity and yes, it is a chance to get rid of old stock to make space for new items,” he says.
In South Africa over the last three years, there were crowds across shopping centres throughout the country as retailers increased their offering or took part in the promotion for the first time.
“Black Friday marketing has been exceptional with millions of rands being invested to draw crowds to their offerings. However, after researching a number of malls in SA, we noticed a slight dip in sales figures in 2017,” Mokubela says.
Neglected township market
He adds that big retailers and brands also need to focus on the growing township market. "Over the past few years of Black Friday in SA, township markets, I feel, were excluded from the massive savings and offerings. This needs to change as we see such rapid growth in the township markets. I encourage big brands to explore the diversity of the township markets.
"Also worth noting, Black Friday in America offers consumers up to 90% off selected items and while this sounds extreme, retailers still reap huge profits. The day after Black Friday in America, shops look absolutely empty. In saying this, we need to offer similar savings for consumers.”
Taking a look at shopping centres across the country with a combined GLA of approximately 23.4 million m², an average of 3.2% of tenants participated in Black Friday in 2016 and an average of 21% of tenants participated in Black Friday in 2017, an increase of 17.8 % year on year. Small regional shopping centres which are between 25 000m² to 50 000m² indicated a growth average of 31% year on year when comparing 2016 tenant participants to 2017.
If 2017 is anything to go by, Black Friday is quickly becoming one of the busiest South African shopping days and, like the US, marks the beginning of the Christmas shopping season...
Graham van der Merwe 17 Jul 2018
Popular across categories
In 2017 the Black Friday promotion was dominated by supermarkets and electronic store sales that offered customers deals up to and over 50% off selected instore items. According to Mokubela, the response to the sales was overwhelming for many shopping centres with more than 71% of the respondent centres reporting that they had the highest influx of footfall year on year with an average increase of up to 13 % in the month of November.
The Lemok Group survey illustrated a fashion and apparel offering component that came through both in 2016 and in 2017. Approximately 33% of tenants in regional and super regional shopping centres participated in Black Friday sales in 2017 vs only 4.4% of tenant participants in 2016, indicating a growing trend across all retail categories.
Mokubela says that promotions like the Black Friday makes retail exciting and creates a dynamic opportunity regarding competition and sales. “More retailers are joining the Black Friday sales promotion year on year. Category offerings are not just limited to food and technology as a clear contribution of fashion, jewellery and accessories and home and décor tenants are also participants in the sales promotion. Regional shopping centres are offering flat rates on parking and even free parking on the day. Black Friday is the new ‘festive season’, so centres need to place more focus on this and budget to draw people.
"I predict an improvement in last year’s Black Friday sales figures. Retailers I have come into contact with have expressed their enthusiasm to get more involved this year. In saying this I hope to see more being done in the township markets as this to me, is an often overlooked one in terms of campaigns like this.”