Tips to stretch your rand and save you from buyer’s remorse this Black Friday
Shop for only what you need, do your homework and do not fall for scams are among the words of wisdom from South African experts ahead of Black Friday.
Economist Gerald Mwandiambira told TimesLIVE Black Friday in 2022, unlike previous years, comes at time when most consumers are financially strained due to rising inflation and the alarming increase in the cost of living.
“People are bombarded by media campaigns and will go out on Black Friday because they fear missing out. My advice is to only shop for the things you really need. There are significant bargains to be found on grocery items, and if you are disciplined, you can buy these for the festive period and perhaps store them,” he said.
“If you are not disciplined. store them with friends and family and use them in December and January, taking advantage of the bulk-buying opportunities that may present themselves on Black Friday.
“If you suffer from fear of missing out, buy stationery and school uniforms if you can find them. Black Friday is an opportunity for bargains, especially on the things you need, but try to avoid the things you want, because interest rates are going up. Fuel prices are indicated to go up again which means 2023 will start as a tough year.”
He advised consumers to plan by tracking prices.
“Track prices so you know the real bargains. On social media we are already seeing reports of stores that have manipulated prices to make them look like specials. Be careful. If you have not been tracking the price, it may not be a bargain.”
Mwandiambira warned consumers to be on the lookout for marketing ploys and scams.
“Look out for specials that are not really specials, where a shop may advertise a very cheap item but have one or two in stock because legally they only need one or two in stock. Wherever you see an advert that says 'while stock lasts', before you spend money on transport going to a shop on the other side of town, call and check how much stock they have. Sometimes it’s an advert to trick you into going to the store to buy something more expensive.
Statistics show retailers often inflate the prices of products in the months leading up to Black Friday to give consumers a false sense of savingsDr Farai Nyika, Mancosa
“Avoid websites that pop up suddenly before Black Friday because these are scammers and designed only to get your card details. If you can, avoid it or wait until the last day because a lot of Black Friday specials run for a week, some even for a month,” he said.
Mancosa academics said South Africa's Black Friday specials are not as significant as the ones offered in other countries.
Dr Farai Nyika of Mancosa’s department of economics urged consumers to question whether the items they want are truly discounted and necessary.
“For example, many retailers sell an item for R1,400 with a sign saying the price has been reduced by 30%, so the original price was R2,000. However, if the consumer were to track the price of the same item throughout the year, they would find the original price in June or July was R1,400. Statistics show retailers often inflate the prices of products in the months leading up to Black Friday to give consumers a false sense of savings.”
Mancosa’s supply chain and management department’s Elisabeth Kanani said participation in Black Friday this year would be very different to previous years.
“South Africa is in a very different economic situation than previous years. Unemployment is rising and the purchasing power of the rand is falling. Consumers are trying to save wherever they can to make ends meet at the end of the month. As a result, I believe Black Friday will be more muted this year as South Africans are looking very sceptically at the savings offered by retailers and are aware of their tactics,” she said.
Nyika echoed this sentiment: “The latest information from RCS Group shows South Africans are saving on average 0.3% of their income per month. This means most South Africans have no savings and borrow money to make ends meet at the end of the month.
“Moreover, most of these loans are not used to pay debts, but to put food on the table.
“The Pietermaritzburg Economic Justice and Dignity Group tracks the average price of the basket of goods the average consumer buys. The October figures showed the price of an average basket of goods had increased by R98 month-on-month. The average basket price increased by R400 from January to October.
“These pressures are also reflected in the Stellenbosch Consumer Confidence Index, which indicates South Africans are generally pessimistic about the country’s economic future. Given these sentiments and pressures, we could see a quieter Black Friday than in previous years.”
South Africa’s stockpiling queen Ncumisa Ndelu urged consumers to be mindful of the back-to-back money spenders such as Black Friday, the December 16 long weekend, Christmas, Boxing Day and New Year “because right after that is the important money spender that is the reopening of schools.
“Surely by now we know everything is expensive and our salaries are in no rush to catch up to our expenses, so if you were taking care with your finances it’s time to take double care and spend strictly on your family’s needs. This year has been really tough on us but if we take its lessons into 2023 we should be fine.”
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