While claims of a more digital world have been rife on the back of Covid-19 and the widespread lockdown response to the pandemic, Black Friday weekend has served to confirm this shift to digital consumption. Photo: File
While claims of a more digital world have been rife on the back of Covid-19 and the widespread lockdown response to the pandemic, Black Friday weekend has served to confirm this shift to digital consumption. Photo: File

Over 60% rise in digital Black Friday transactions versus the drop in store activity

By Staff Reporter Time of article published Nov 30, 2020

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DURBAN - While claims of a more digital world have been rife on the back of Covid-19 and the widespread lockdown response to the pandemic, Black Friday weekend has served to confirm this shift to digital consumption, according to Mpho Sadiki, Executive: Card and Payments Acceptance at Nedbank.

Sadiki said that the more than 60 percent growth in digital Black Friday transactions versus the decline in physical in store activity, shows clear evidence of a rapid shift to digital consumption.

Data gleaned from Nedbank’s various payment channels confirms that this trend is also making inroads in reshaping retail trade in South Africa.

“Prior to Black Friday, Nedbank had already been experiencing stellar growth of around 100 percent in the use of contactless payments, both on a month-on-month and year-on-year basis during 2020 and while we acknowledge that much of this can be attributed to people’s fear of physical contact with payment devices due to the risk of Covid-19, we believe that after experiencing the convenience and safety of contactless payments, clients will continue to use contactless and digital as their preferred method of payment,” said Sadiki.

He said that the statistics around Black Friday, and what has now become Black November, fully support the move to digital consumption and retail operations, particularly amongst small- and medium-sized merchants.

“Consumer spend by Nedbank clients across digital shopping channels has shown significantly higher growth levels than those of traditional channels which not only points to changing consumer behaviour in general due to the pandemic, but also that more South Africans used digital channels specifically to do their Black Friday shopping this year,” explained Sadiki.

Total digital turnover (in terms of Nedbank processed payments) across all enterprises increased by 52 percent year-on-year. While large enterprise digital sales contributed 36 percent to this figure, they actually saw a drop of 9 percent in volume. SMEs, on the other hand, enjoyed a 12 percent rise in volumes year-on-ear, and digital turnover for this vital segment was up a staggering 173 percent.

According to Sadiki, digital has now become the preferred way for the majority of South Africans to shop.

He said, “The outstanding performance by SMEs over Black November is especially because it demonstrates the effect that this shift towards digitised consumption can, and will, have in terms of levelling the retail playing field and creating an environment in which all merchants are able to compete fairly for share of market”.

And Sadiki emphasises that this digital retail evolution logically follows the steady growth in adoption of online and virtual payments that Nedbank has seen across South Africa’s retail landscape since the impact of Covid-19 and the national lockdown first began to be felt by businesses.

Since March 2020 there has been a significant acceleration in the number of clients that have adopted or enhanced digital business models and payment systems with year-on-year growth in e-commerce enablement amongst our business clients. This has spiked significantly since October as merchants have prepared for the Black Friday and festive season.

“The data from the past few weeks of retail activity tells us that what we have seen over November is not just a fear-driven rise in ‘remote’ shopping, so while Covid-19 and Black Friday may have been catalysts, the digital trend was already firmly in place, and will continue to build as digital consumption becomes even more entrenched as a day-to-day reality,” concluded Sadiki.

BUSINESS REPORT ONLINE

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