Holiday shopping has always brought the year’s best deals, and many shoppers are looking forward to Black Friday specials. However, COVID-19 has cast a dark cloud on the bargains-seeking event, which has gone online.
Since many retailers consider Black Friday to be crucial to their businesses annual performance, investors look at Black Friday sale numbers as a way to estimate the overall health of the entire retail industry.
Meshel Muzuva, a senior finance and economics lecturer at MANCOSA private higher education institution, said marketers can easily influence and leverage consumers’ behaviour to get them to spend more on Black Friday.
“South African consumers are to not indulge in the temptation of mega discounts – especially when such purchases are made on credit and during the huge economic impact that COVID-19 still has on the economy.
“According to the National Credit Regulator (NCR), four out of 10 credit-active consumers are in poor standing – i.e. accounts are three or more months in arrears.
“With stores navigating a COVID-19 minefield of hygiene protocols, limitations on customer numbers and social distancing against a backdrop of consumer financial constraints, Black Friday is moving online as a more viable alternative.”
He said online shopping is an easier way to shop on Black Friday in that it gives the shopper the convenience of purchasing everything they want without having to go from store to store or compete with other shoppers.”
Meshel said many stores realise people are not willing to risk increasing their exposure to the coronavirus so they are putting their Black Friday deals online early. So far, we are seeing deals from Makro, Game, Woolworths, Hi-Fi Corp and other online retailers like Zando and Takealot.
“South Africa’s e-commerce sector has shown a dramatic upsurge in sales since government lifted the lockdown restrictions on online shopping in May. The pandemic has amplified the shift online in SA.
“The definition of luxury has changed during the pandemic this year, even for those who have not lost their jobs – given salary cuts and curbs on bonus and commission payments, Thanksgiving, Black Friday and Cyber Monday will impact on people’s buying power and motivation for discounted items.
Makro and Game have expanded their Black Friday sale to three separate events held over three weeks leading up to the official day. Although they have been promoting people to shop online sales with early Black Friday deals, they still have to strategise on how to meet the needs of Black Friday crowds while meeting COVID-19 guidelines.
Muzuva said shoppers need to be aware when shopping online and it is of utmost importance that they carefully check information on items and do thorough research before buying anything online.
MANCOSA, a leading provider of management programmes through supported distance learning in Southern Africa, is renowned for its MBA offering, which is ranked among the 10 of the best MBAs in Africa. A member of Honoris United Universities – the first Pan-African private higher education network focused on nurturing the next generation of African leaders and professionals. MANCOSA serves as an innovation hub for undergraduate and postgraduate management, offering 48 accredited programmes. A selection of Executive Education Short Learning Programmes is also offered to meet the requirements of professionals in both the private and public sectors. See: www.mancosa.co.za
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