Standard Bank said this year’s Black Friday sales statistics showed an increase compared with 2018 figures. Photo: Supplied

CAPE TOWN – The biggest spenders on the on Black Friday were customers aged between 24 and 36 years old, followed by 36 to 48-year-old customers, according to a report by Standard Bank. 

South Africa’s largest credit card provider said in a statement on Monday that these two categories of customers accounted for more than half the spend on Black Friday. 

A trend that was replicated globally. Standard Bank’s female customers spent slightly more than our male customers this year, following a similar trend when compared to the comparative period. 

The lender said this year’s Black Friday sales statistics showed an increase compared with 2018 figures.

According to retail tracker Black Friday Global, interest in the Black Friday phenomenon in South Africa over the last five years had jumped by 9 900 percent in South Africa, compared to global growth of 117 percent during the same period, as domestic retailers adapted their trading strategies over the years to include a discount push on Black Friday.

While the shopping phenomenon, which traditionally kick-starts the holiday shopping season, may have originally started in the US, its worldwide popularity has soared in recent years with countries across the globe getting in on the action. 

Black Friday it has snowballed into a whirlwind of big-ticket discounts across all categories, making it the most popular time of the year to splurge, in South Africa.

Standard Bank’s head of card Issuing in South Africa, Ethel Nyembe said while most consumers had been forced to tighten their belts due to the tough economic environment, they still showed spending resilience when they realised value.

The lender said its customers did most of their shopping on Black Friday, while still seeing value in the days before and after 29 November 2019, with increased spending evident in this time. 

“There has been an increase in volume and value spent over this time when compared to the corresponding period last year. Online purchases have also seen very healthy volume increases,” Nyembe said.

Total card transactions for Black Friday 2019 increased by 13 percent compared to the same period last year, the average value of transactions rose by 12 percent, according to the statement. While there were numerous individuals who took advantage of specials, and swiped their cards for as little as R1, the most expensive card transaction on the day amounted to R650 000.

Nyembe said: “Standard Bank worked tirelessly to ensure that we were able to provide an always on service to our customers with the network providing efficient, secure and effective service to our issuing and acquiring customers. We experienced no disruption, and were able to seamlessly manage transaction volumes of up to 560 transactions per second.”

Customers took advantage of their lunch break during their working day, with transactions per second processed by Standard Bank spiking between 13h00 and 15h00. Saturday morning, 30 November, also saw a spike to 520 transactions per second managed by Standard Bank.

Following similar patterns to last year, consumers chose to spend their money and take advantage of Black Friday value at food retailers, followed by electronic and other consumable retailers and clothing stores.

Standard Bank said it expected to see similar trends on Cyber Monday.

“Interestingly customers are really starting to see and feel the convenience and security offered by card Tap and Go facilities. Our customers who were using their Tap and Go functionality on their cards increased markedly, with the value of purchases increasing by more than 150 percent when compared to the same time last year,” said Nyembe.

First National Bank (FNB) also saw a spike in shopping activity on Black Friday. Between midnight and 2pm on Friday, the total number of transactions processed through FNB’s Merchant Acquiring Systems were 7.4 million compared to 5.6 million in 2018, the lender said in a statement on Friday.

This represents a 40 percent increase in transaction volumes compared to the same period last year. Transactions processed through the bank’s Merchant Acquiring Systems peaked at an average of 306 transactions per second. 

BUSINESS REPORT