Big lead-up to Black Friday
There was a time when Santa got people spending. Now it’s Black Friday.
According to the big shopping malls in Durban, if past trends are anything to go by, November is the new December and, due to tough economic times, shoppers are in search of bumper deals.
Black Friday, a discount shopping phenomenon, started in America and for the past two years has become a hit in South Africa.
This year, it will be marked on November 23, a day most South Africans are unlikely to be paid because the official pay day, the 25th of the month, falls on a Sunday.
Gary Hadfield, CEO of the online store Loot, warned shoppers that if they were shopping online for the first time this Friday, or if they were using a new credit card online, they would need to first do a 3D authentication with their bank.
“This is the last thing you want to be doing on the day,” he said.
“Furthermore, have a budget and decide on the key items you want. Then shop around and compare prices online before you purchase a product,” advised Hadfield.
Big shopping centres like Galleria and the Pavilion have beefed up security in preparation for those who prefer the traditional way of shopping.
Anusha Timul, marketing manager for Galleria, said: “We have had preliminary meetings with major tenants to ensure safety plans are in place. Most shops will also be opening early to accommodate crowds.”
Timul added that the reason Black Friday was so popular among shoppers was they could buy on discount ahead of the festive season.
Julie-Anne Zuma, Pavilion mall marketing manager, said they had worked to ensure the overall shopping experience was not compromised.
“To this end, we have increased the complement of staff working in our parking lots to alleviate possible disruptions and redirect shoppers to alternate parking spaces, should it become necessary.
“Further to this, we have deployed brand ambassadors who will assist shoppers as they navigate around the mall,” said Zuma.
Economist Professor Bonke Duma, said that November had deliberately been turned into the “new December” with retailers hoping to increase turnover.
“In the past, November would be a bad month for businesses because people were usually saving up for December and reduced their spend.”
Duma added that he was a bit apprehensive about Black Friday, but from a business and economic perspective, it made sense to make November a profit-making month, because both November and January were previously quiet months for businesses.
Chief economist at the Efficient Group Dawie Roodt said South Africans love to spend, despite not being able to afford it.
Black Friday, he said, was a fairly new concept which spilled over from America and could “become quite big in the future”.
And the winners on Black Friday, according to Roodt, are retailers and consumers, alike.
“Voluntary transactions are always to the benefit of both parties at the time of the transaction. However, people may come to regret it in future.”