Biggest Black Friday spenders in South Africa — including one who splurged R1.16 million

There were several shoppers in South Africa who spent hundreds of thousands of rands during Black Friday 2023.

According to data from most major banks and big payment gateways, overall spending values and volumes on Black Friday itself declined or remained relatively flat compared to last year’s promotion.

Shoppers were more measured in their buying decisions due to increased economic pressures and took a more strategic approach to bargain hunting, according to Payfast.

The payments platform saw the average shoppers’ basket value decline from R1,689 to R1,364 on Friday.

Absa head of card issuing at Everyday Banking, Tshipi Alexander, said that although marketing of Black Friday specials was more extensive and significant than in previous years, consumers had become far more strategic and discerning about their spending, and were not as easily convinced to trust a discount at a retailer.

BankservAfrica — which tracks interbank card transactions for in-store and online spending — recorded R4.5 billion worth of transactions on Black Friday, compared to R4.9 billion in 2022.

However, BankservAfrica stakeholder engagements head Shergeran Naidoo said people should remember that 2022 was a higher-than-average year for Black Friday because it was the first time the event was held without Covid-19 concerns.

In addition, all banks and some platforms reported an overall increase in sales volumes and values when counting transactions over the weekend and the first few days of the following week.

This could be attributed to the fact that more people would have been able to visit stores while off from work and that payday for most workers fell on Saturday.

FNB Card head of spend and customer value management, Ashley Saffy, said that the bank’s customers spent over R3 billion on Black Friday, “in line with” 2022’s Black Friday spend.

“We also saw positive growth over the rest of the weekend, with a 7% increase compared to 2022, as customers took advantage of payday coinciding with Black Friday weekend deals,” Saffy said.

Instant EFT payments platform Ozow said it had a “record-breaking” shopping weekend between Thursday, 23 November 2023 and Tuesday, 28 November 2023. “Year-on-year, we observed a 34% increase in retail sales,” Ozow said.

Ozow also said the average basket value on its platform increased by over 100% compared to 2022.

Biggest amount spent by one customer

Several people who used Ozow to perform instant EFTs during the period spent hundreds of thousands of rand, with the top five spenders being as follows:

  1. R818,000.00 — 1 transaction
  2. R800,000.00 — 10 transactions
  3. R700,000.00 — 5 transactions
  4. R600,000.00 — 3 transactions
  5. R550,000.00 — 3 transactions

MyBroadband also asked South Africa’s major banks for spending insights over the Black Friday shopping period.

Absa and Standard Bank provided figures for their highest individual spenders.

The highest value of transactions performed by a single Absa customer on Black Friday was R1.16 million. This was spent on groceries.

One Standard Bank customer was not far behind, spending R1 million on Black Friday itself, although the nature of their purchase was unclear.

The single highest transaction value among Standard Bank’s customers was R900,000, while one Absa client spent R1 million on a single furniture purchase.

The Standard Bank customer with the highest volume of transactions racked up 148 payments during the day. Absa said it was still analysing this number on its end.

The table below breaks down the highest spend and largest volume of transactions by a single customer on Black Friday in South Africa in 2023.

It is important to note that there might be some overlap between this data.

For example, the R627,000 spent through PayFast might have been one of the transactions of the Absa or Standard Bank customers.

Biggest Black Friday spenders per bank/payment platform
Bank/payment gateway Highest total spend by one customer Highest spend in one transaction (purchase type) Highest volume of transactions by one customer
Absa R1.16 million R1 million (furniture) 644
Standard Bank R1 million R900,000 148
Ozow R818,000 R818,000 (travel) 94
Payfast Unknown R627,000 Unknown
BankServAfrica Unknown R113,000 (jewellery) 644
Nedbank Not shared Not shared 64

All the major banks that provided MyBroadband with data on general sales trends reported substantial increases in online spending and contactless payments over Black Friday — including a surge in digital wallet spend.

Digital wallets include apps like Apple Pay, Fitbit Pay, Garmin Pay, Google Wallet, and Samsung Wallet, which allow customers to pay by tapping their smartphone or smartwatch on a payment terminal.

Standard Bank said its wallet transaction volumes on Black Friday grew 81% year-on-year, with Apple Pay contributing close to 90% of total wallet transactions by value.

Contactless payments by Standard Bank customers also grew to almost 50% of total transactions.

Absa’s Alexander said the bank recorded 20% growth in online shopping volumes during November 2023 compared to November 2022.

FNB’s Saffy also said that the bank’s virtual cards saw a 93% year-on-year increase in transactions during the period.

“Over and above the strong virtual card and online spend movements, we also saw an 85% increase in spend on card digital wallets on Black Friday weekend,” Saffy said.

Nedbank executive for trading products, Privesan Naidoo, said the bank saw a strong shift to digital payment forms with growth in online and contactless transactions exceeding in-person performance.

Capitec said it recorded nearly 300 million interactions on the Capitec app, marking a substantial increase from the 2022 Black Friday’s 188 million app interactions.

“These statistics indicate a steady transition towards digital and card-based payments, reflecting evolving consumer buying trends in the country,” Capitec said.

One of South Africa’s newest banks — Bank Zero — said its transactions were up 66% both in volume and value compared to the previous Black Friday.

Despite the impressive growth in online spending, all the banks said that in-store shopping accounted for most of their customers’ spending.

Now read: Big shift in Black Friday spending in South Africa

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Biggest Black Friday spenders in South Africa — including one who splurged R1.16 million