(File: Gallo Images, Esa Alexander)
Gallo Images Shoppers during last Black Friday
- Black Friday sales dropped significantly in South Africa in 2020, preliminary data show.
- Online transactions increased by more than 60% – but that was not enough to offset the decline in store sales.
- Physical retailers recorded around two million fewer transactions than during Black Friday 2019.
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As early statistics show, Black Friday 2020 has been a flop for South African retailers, with a huge drop in in-store sales.
Retailers were expecting a drop in sales compared to 2019 as buyers avoided malls and stores for fear of coronavirus infection – and a lack of money in their pockets thanks to the economic impact of the virus and the associated lockdown.
But the droplet size is surprising and could mean more trouble than expected.
Card purchases in stores on November 27 amounted to less than five million, BankServAfrica clearing house informed on Saturday morning. This is a 30% decrease compared to 2019.
On the other hand, online transactions increased by more than 60% – but below a low level, totaling just under 870,000 sales.
This adds up to about 300,000 additional online sales compared to two million fewer physical store sales.
Although the mall owners and stores went out of their way to reassure customers that they would be safe, shopping malls were calm on Friday, sometimes more so than a normal shopping day.
Traditionally, physical retail chains have sought to encourage online purchases through channels that were renewed during the lockdown. But they seemed to fail to arouse the emotion they rely on in stores where visitors, drawn by a few headline offers, could have been persuaded to buy other items in previous years.
Declines were also seen in other countries, with data from Barclaycard, the UK’s largest credit card company, showing an overall decline of around 10% of all transactions, with payments falling even further.
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