Retailers urged to capitalise on Black Friday spending spree - or lose out

22 November 2018 - 13:23 By TimesLIVE
Shopping mania is due to hit SA on Black Friday.
Shopping mania is due to hit SA on Black Friday.
Image: 123RF/jordachelr

Even though it’s tempting to dismiss Black Friday as just another marketing gimmick, the reality is that it signifies the start of a month-long consumer spending frenzy that significantly boosts retail revenues.

This is according to research released by SME funder Retail Capital, which shows the impact that it has across several sectors of the local market.

Card turnover a week before Black Friday is 10% less than the average spend for the seven-week period around Black Friday. On Black Friday it jumps to 33% more than the average and a week later it’s still 14% higher.

“These statistics reflect how local consumers have embraced the concept and want to get the most value for their money. It also indicates that the period following Black Friday and Cyber Monday are vital (for retailers) to capitalise on the momentum these days bring,” said Karl Westvig, CEO of Retail Capital.

The same holds true in the fast-moving consumer goods sector, which is up by an average of 99% before Black Friday, 132% on Black Friday and 119% after Black Friday.

The food and beverage sector shows a credit card turnover of 94%, 112% and 112% on the weekend before Black Friday, on Black Friday weekend and the weekend thereafter respectively.

General retail also sees significant activity during the period, with numbers showing credit card turnover at 78% the week before, 155% on the day and 108% the week after.

Further research shows that there are massive increases in credit card turnovers in Gauteng (137%), the Western Cape (126%) and KwaZulu-Natal (122%) on Black Friday.

These are not limited to the day itself. Examining the lead-up to Black Friday, the week before sees an average card turnover in Gauteng of 86%, KwaZulu-Natal of 87% and the Western Cape of 90%.

The study looked at the period from the end of October 2017 to December 16 2017.

The period following the event - highlighted by Cyber Monday, which typically associated with online deals - sees the momentum continuing, with 112% growth in Gauteng as well as 111% growth in both KwaZulu-Natal and the Western Cape.

This carries on into the first week of December, with Gauteng seeing a 106% increase and 111% growth in both KwaZulu-Natal and the Western Cape.

According to the Retail Capital research, the Black Friday/Cyber Monday weekend shows credit card growth across clothing (239%), fast-moving consumer goods (132%), food and beverage (115%) and general retail (155%).

What begins on the Friday grows strongly into Monday, with more than 56% of purchases coming from online sales.

Local businesses must therefore ensure that the specials they offer are significant or they risk losing out to more aggressive competitors, said Retail Capital.

“As our comparison of credit card turnover across the various retail sectors shows, Black Friday presents companies in South Africa with a vital platform for growth. It has a marked effect on turnover heading into the festive season and one that must be capitalised on,” said Westvig.

"Companies must embrace all available platforms, ensure their finance is in place and manage stock to accommodate demand.

"If you are not going to capitalise on the likes of Black Friday and Cyber Monday, you are going to lose out."