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Some Results from Black Friday (29 November 2019)

In the November edition, I promised to give a fuller report on 2019’s Black Friday. Already at the end of November, it was obvious that Black Friday has evolved from being a one-day sale to being an ongoing series of sales over one to two weeks. According to BankServ Africa (reporting to the EFSA/PASA Working Party), sales had increased by around 4% on the Friday, however, data provided to the press by DPO South Africa, claimed that overall there was a 35% year-on-year transactional volume growth for the Black Friday and Cyber Monday, with shopping period trading volumes spiking by 400% on 29 November compared to an average trading day. The average transactional value per basket this year was R1,406, compared with R1,502 in 2018, and peak shopping was not at midnight, but between 9 am and 10 am on Black Friday morning. With online merchants kicking off the shopping holiday earlier this year, PayGate reported numbers showing that the daily transactional volume between the Monday and Thursday before Black Friday was 50% greater than a normal trading day. DPO South Africa believes that the numbers and trends of Black Friday 2019 point to a more mature market and a sector that was better prepared. DPO believes that Black Friday will see significant growth in the rest of Africa over the next years.

Last month we looked at how Black Friday had grown in the USA. 2019 Black Friday showed an estimated $21.4 billion in online sales across Thanksgiving, Black Friday, and Cyber Monday (according to Adobe Analytics), despite the fact that there were 6 fewer days between Cyber Monday and Christmas than 2018 — making 2019 the shortest holiday season since 2013. It, therefore, became extremely important that retailers met consumers’ delivery expectations this holiday season given the high ecommerce volume and merchants’ recently ramped-up fulfilment efforts. This has led to a marketing war of words on delivery  –  Amazon announced its plans to shift its free two-day shipping for Prime subscribers to one-day earlier this year and offered one-day delivery on over 10 million items going into the holiday season. Its move set off a chain reaction with retail competitors like Best Buy, Kroger, Target and Walmart introducing their own fast delivery offerings, and several other retailers offered special holiday shipping deals as well. The holidays may be many consumers’ first exposure to these improved fulfilment capabilities, which could mean that how effectively retailers handle deliveries during the holidays this year in the USA could impact consumer loyalty and their performances for years to come.

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Alastair Tempest

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