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The downside of Black Friday

Black Friday is expected to continue its rise in popularity within South Africa, but it isn't all incredible discounts and happy shoppers. It has a significant downside too.

The downside of Black Friday

‘Black Friday’ originated in the USA and characteristically takes place the day after Thanksgiving (falling on 29th November this year). It is a day upon which hundreds of thousands of brands and businesses offer their consumers the opportunity to take advantage of extreme specials and discounts.

Black Friday has taken off in South Africa in recent times and has continued to expand in popularity year upon year, with many locals waiting months to make a big purchase in an effort to stand a chance to secure a better deal.

Shocking stats

Experts predict that Americans are set to spend around $90.14 billion on Black Friday and Cyber Monday in 2019. While South Africa is not nearly as exorbitant when it comes to Black Friday spending, locals are certainly going the extra mile to take full advantage of many of the available specials.

According to Fin24 and Isana Cordier, sector head for consumer goods and services, corporate and investment banking at ABSA, two out of three South African consumers have participated in Black Friday shopping at some point or another.

The most popular items purchased amongst South Africans on Black Friday include nappies, shoes, gadgets, toys and perfume, claim Takealot and Superbalist – two of the country’s most respected online stores.

The cons of Black Friday

Black Friday also brings with it numerous deals within the travel industry. Sizeable discounts on domestic flights South Africa, international tickets, hotel bookings and car rentals have frequent travellers with keyboard at the ready. Unfortunately, though, while the day often promotes excitement and saves many individuals a large sum of money, there are a few cons that both brands and consumers need to be aware of.

The main con is that there is never a guarantee that interested consumers will be able to capitalise on the various specials highlighted. Stock is often limited, and retail stores tend to fill up quickly, often with queues extending as far as the eye can see. As a result, this sends consumers down the online shopping route; however, many local online stores and eCommerce websites are not adequately equipped to handle the influx of shoppers with which Black Friday is synonymous. This magnitude of online shoppers leads to website crashes, delayed loading times and many more potential issues that may prevent conversions.

Black Friday can also work to the disadvantage of many local businesses as the economy comes to a standstill leading up to Black Friday in anticipation of the deals and discounts.

Many South Africans will be saving every disposable cent to maximise value when presented with the long-awaited specials. This, in turn, may lead to a drastic decline in revenue for months leading up to the 29th November, 2019.

The scams of Black Friday

Furthermore, scams at the hands of opportunistic cybercriminals are rampant during this time. Fraud losses from online shopping, airline tickets, money transfer and banking services are expected to hit $22 billion in the USA, according to a new report from Juniper Research. These types of scams are becoming more and more frequent locally too, usually taking the form of fake specials communicated via email.

These emailers are often picture-perfect copies of the ones sent out by major brands, making it difficult for even the savviest of consumers to discern between them.

Shoppers are encouraged to protect themselves from falling victim by avoiding giving out any personal details when they follow links contained in promotional emails. They should rather make their way directly to the brand’s website.

Despite the long list of cons, the pros still seem to reign supreme for many local consumers. Luckily, as long as shoppers educate themselves and exercise caution when it comes to embracing Black Friday, there is no reason why it shouldn’t offer a rewarding experience.

8 Oct 2019 12:01

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