On the question of whether Black Friday is profitable for businesses, Toni Wilkinson explains that volume and demand are key. Photo: Supplied

CAPE TOWN – As Black Friday draws closer eager shoppers are double-checking their budgets and making wish-lists. 

Black Friday is now so well-entrenched in South Africa, everyone’s getting in on the action. With discounts of as much as 80 percent, thousands of bargain hunters will flood the country's online retailers when the clock strikes midnight.

Here are statistics on consumer behaviour on last years Black Friday:

  • City Shopping Behaviour: CT (31 percent) | Sandton (29 percent) | Pretoria (18 percent) | JHB: 13 percent | DBN: 9 percent
  • In 2017, the average time spent on PriceCheck is 02:21, yet on Black Friday it's 03:05
  • Visitors by device: Desktop (52 percent) | Mobile (41 percent) | Tablet (7 percent)

With a number of lead-up sales underway, many shoppers have flexed their bargain-grabbing muscles. But is there an art to shopping safely and wisely when the real madness strikes? The answer is yes.

Toni Wilkinson, chief marketing officer at PriceCheck, South Africa’s product discovery and comparison platform, and a Silvertree Internet Holdings company, shares her thoughts.

Here are Toni’s top six tips for getting the best deals on Black Friday and Cyber Monday.

  1. Have a plan. Know what you want, need and can afford before you get enticed by all the offers in front of you.
  2. Choose a secure way to pay. Credit card payment methods that ask you for a supplementary one-time PIN such as Verified by Visa, Snapscan and PayPal are all good options.
  3. Take note of the delivery and return details. Will you get the purchase when you need it? And, if you need to return it, will you end up paying more on delivery costs?
  4. Look out for hidden costs or additional purchases you might need to make.
  5. Compare deals. Similar deals might be packaged slightly differently, so make sure you are comparing apples with apples.
  6. Only buy from reputable retailers so you can be sure you will receive authentic products.

In 2017, we witnessed a huge increase in site traffic at midnight on Black Friday compared with the average day – almost three times the normal number of users logged on – showing that South Africa’s online shoppers stand ready and waiting for Black Friday deals to break.

What are some of the brands to watch out for this year?

  • The most popular brands last year were Samsung, Apple and Hisense. 
  • In general, our top products included cell phones, TVs, smartwatches, laptops and multimedia players. Last year the most popular category was tech by far, followed by fashion, toys and baby.

On the question of whether Black Friday is profitable for businesses, Wilkinson explains that volume and demand are key. 

"Global research shows that consumers are planning to spend even more on purchases in 2018 compared with previous years, reaffirming Black Friday as one of the most significant revenue-generating opportunities in the retail calendar. 

"Retailers may experience a slow start to sales in November, due to the high demand for deep discounts over the Black Friday week. During Black Friday week itself, retailers generally experience a spike in sales, relying on high sales volumes to compensate for low margins. They also use the event to mark the start of the shopping season," said Wilkinson. 

BUSINESS REPORT ONLINE