Black Friday 2019 to be the biggest yet in South Africa

PwC, in partnership with Opinium Research, has published its research into South African consumer intentions ahead of Black Friday and Cyber Monday.

According to this research, consumers are planning on spending 36% more this year compared to 2018. This amounts to an expected average per-consumer spend of R3,812 during the Black Friday and Cyber Monday period.

85% of South Africans said that they were planning on buying something this year, or were considering buying something if they found a good-enough deal.

Online shopping

PwC said that online sales are expected to account for 43.4% of all purchases this Black Friday.

This is compared to 50.4% in brick-and-mortar stores, while virtual assistant purchases will account for 5.7%.

“On average, youth shoppers (aged 18-34) intend to make 51.5% of their purchases through online channels and voice recognition services, while those shoppers in the age bracket 35-54 intend to make 51.9% of their purchases through the same avenues,” said PwC.

In contrast, only 35% of buyers older than 55 will shop online or via voice recognition services over Black Friday.

Research also showed that online retailers offered some of the best customer service during Black Friday 2018.

Finding deals

According to the research, social media will be the top source of deals information this year, along with television advertising.

PwC highlighted that South Africans spend two hours and 48 minutes on social media each day, which is why advertising on these platforms is so effective during Black Friday.

Facebook in particular is used by 96% of big brands to advertise deals and engage with customers – making it a hotbed for Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals.

In total, South Africans spend a total of eight hours and 25 minutes per day connected to the Internet – which is 25% higher than the global average – making digital advertising a massive opportunity for local retailers.

This is why 48% of shoppers will search for deals on non-retail websites, while only 40% of shoppers will use newspapers, magazines, and leaflets.

Customer experience is key

PwC said that while Black Friday offers terrific opportunities for local retailers to boost their revenues, they need to step up their customer service accordingly.

“Give customers a great experience and they will buy more, be more loyal and share their experience with friends. Customer experience is everything,” said PwC.

Combining various studies, PwC highlighted four key customer priorities for retailers during Black Friday and Cyber Monday:

  • Crowds, physical and virtual queueing – The number one thing that customers dislike during Black Friday and Cyber Monday is dealing with crowds and queuing, said PwC. It recommended that retailers use innovative strategies such as mobile payments to offer faster checkout processes that will minimise customer dissatisfaction.
  • Great deals and big discounts – PwC said that another big issue for customers is when the deals on offer are perceived to be disappointing. “With discounts averaging only 20% in stores and online compared to much higher expectations, many consumers were left disappointed [in 2018],” said PwC.
  • Safety and security – The Black Friday and Cyber Monday periods spanning 2017 and 2018 saw several safety issues identified, including stampeding crowds. One in 10 South Africans who aren’t interested in purchasing anything during Black Friday and Cyber Monday this year said that security concerns are the reason for this.
  • Stock shortages and range of goods – A massive challenge for supply chain managers is ensuring that there is enough of the right stock on the shelves during this period. “It is unlikely that a stock mishap on Black Friday/Cyber Monday will damage a retailer’s reputation for service delivery during the other 51 weeks of the year, but it could have a knock-on effect for the next year’s Black Friday/Cyber Monday’s sale prospects,” said PwC.

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Black Friday 2019 to be the biggest yet in South Africa