Surveys predict Black Friday likely to fuel e-commerce

A Covid-19-era Black Friday has the potential to boost online retail, which has already grown significantly as a result of the pandemic. This is according to a PwC report on the annual frenzied shopping event. 

Previously 67% of Black Friday shopping was in-store, with only 11% taking place online, the report notes. Fear of contracting the virus while fighting off other shoppers and standing in busy queues may change this. 

And more South Africans have been looking out for Black Friday sales in recent years and the pandemic will probably affect how and why people shop as the festive season nears. 

South Africans are “aggressively adopting habits to save money”, according to a McKinsey survey released on 5 November. A significant increase in online shopping in most categories, in particular household supplies, furnishing and appliances, health and beauty products and electronics, are expected by consumers. Consumers cited convenience and value as reasons for shifting to online. 

The McKinsey survey also found that trading-down behaviour has increased across all socioeconomic classes and product categories. 


In August, a survey by researchers at Growth from Knowledge found that 26% of shoppers said they would increase their use of home delivery even after the pandemic.

Several retailers have expanded their online offerings. Pick n Pay and Woolworths have rolled out click-and-collect services in response to the pandemic. Despite clothing sales experiencing a major blow —  these sales were down by 33.5% in the first three months of the lockdown compared with the previous year, according to Statistics South Africa — Foschini’s online turnover grew by 115.8%.

On Monday, Naspers, which owns leading online retailer Takealot, reported that its e-commerce revenues grew by 37% year on year.

This turn to digital means retailers can expect a significant increase in online shopping during Black Friday. 

But PwC says many of the new customers may not be familiar with shopping online. “They are being forced to go online in order not to miss out on the many bargains and online deals.”

A Geopoll survey found that in 2019, 37% of online shoppers encountered problems with Black Friday sales. 

PwC notes that customers will not tolerate websites that aren’t user-friendly. It said that in a market that makes up only about 2% of retail sales, this may mean more established e-commerce options could undercut newer online retailers. 

Growth from Knowledge’s Black Friday report notes that during the pandemic many consumers have remained loyal to online retailers they trust. To retain new online customers, retailers must ensure they are providing the best experience to retain them.

PwC also expects that as consumers continue to grapple with the economic harm caused by the pandemic, they are more likely to shop for staple items in the Black Friday sales. 

Growth from Knowledge predicts that hygiene, wellness goods, products that help people work from home (laptops and headsets) as well as eat at home (appliances) will probably be high on people’s shopping lists during Black Friday.

Subscribe to the M&G

These are unprecedented times, and the role of media to tell and record the story of South Africa as it develops is more important than ever.

The Mail & Guardian is a proud news publisher with roots stretching back 35 years, and we’ve survived right from day one thanks to the support of readers who value fiercely independent journalism that is beholden to no-one. To help us continue for another 35 future years with the same proud values, please consider taking out a subscription.

Sarah Smit
Sarah Smit
Sarah Smit is a general news reporter at the Mail & Guardian. She covers topics relating to labour, corruption and the law.

Related stories

Advertising

Subscribers only

Q&A Sessions: George Euvrard, the brains behind our cryptic crossword

George Euvrard spoke to Athandiwe Saba about his passion for education, clues on how to solve his crosswords and the importance of celebrating South Africa.

Poachers in prisons tell their stories

Interviews with offenders provide insight into the structure of illegal wildlife trade networks

More top stories

Racial bias against black medical practitioners ‘reflects fissures of an...

The testimonials of black doctors have given credence to allegations of racial profiling. Of those listed on a Gems blacklist, 94% of general practitioners were black

Why great white sharks are disappearing from South Africa’s coastline

Government panel blames killer whales for the depleted population of great white sharks, but experts say overfishing is the big culprit that is not being addressed

R100-billion needed to staunch KZN’s water woes

Municipalities have failed to maintain their existing infrastructure for providing residents with water

Niehaus has 48 hours to state why he should not...

The MKMVA spokesperson has been asked to give reasons why he should not be fired from his position at Luthuli House after attacking Jesse Duarte last week
Advertising

press releases

Loading latest Press Releases…