Strange Black Friday 2020 sales trends revealed

Black Friday 2020 sales volumes in South Africa were higher than last year, but the growth was far lower than expected.

This is feedback from Karen Nadasen, PayU South Africa CEO and the chair for the Ecommerce Forum of South Africa (EFSA).

Speaking to Classic Business’ Michael Avery, Nadasen said this year was very different from previous years, as purchasing activity did not start at midnight.

“As the clock ticked one past midnight – crickets. We did not see the kind of volumes that we usually see,” she said.

She said sales volumes after midnight were down 33% while there was 63% less spending during this period.

While there was a slow start to Black Friday this year, volumes started to pick up at around 08:00.

“At 08:00 South Africans seemed to have woken up and we started to see huge volumes going through our switch,” Nadasen said.

Between 08:00 and 09:00, PayU processed around R38 million in payments, and the trend continued for the rest of the day.

There was then another big surge between 19:00 and 20:00. These were more impulse buying, with high volumes but far lower basket values.

Looking at Black Friday as a whole, there was an increase of 14% in sales volumes, much lower than the expected 35% growth.

There was, however, still a 400% increase in sales when compared to a typical weekday.

Nadasen puts this lower-than-expected growth and low midnight sales down to a few factors:

  • The big Black Friday deals expected at midnight did not materialise.
  • There were many retailers which only put their deals up in the morning.
  • There was a big decline in airline ticket sales, which typically account for large Black Friday volumes.

Biggest winners and losers during Black Friday 2020

An interesting observation from PayU was the very strong sales growth from the beauty industry, which increased by 59%.

“When we looked at some of the merchants which ran beauty specials, we saw a 250% increase in sales,” said Nadasen.

“There were some merchants in the beauty industry with increases as high as 8,500%.”

The biggest loser this year was the airline industry, with much lower sales volumes than last year.

“There were some airline ticket sales in the morning, but unfortunately it was nowhere near last year’s volumes,” said Nadasen.

She added that a few merchants and payment platforms did not fare well this year, but said she preferred not to mention any names.

Another interesting observation was that 95% of payments were done through credit and debit cards, dwarfing EFT.

Karen Nadasen interview

Now read: The biggest single purchase on Black Friday in South Africa

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Strange Black Friday 2020 sales trends revealed