Ina Opperman

By Ina Opperman

Business Journalist

Consumers expected to spend about R7 billion more this Black Friday

Black Friday has rapidly gone from being a novelty American event to a significant generator of sales for South African retailers and brands.

Consumers are expected to spend about R7 billion more this Black Friday, despite battling to make ends meet as many of them saved up to spend their money on household essentials and other necessities.

South Africa is nearing the peak of Black November shopping on Black Friday tomorrow. International e-commerce platform, Picodi, previously noted that sales on the day have easily been 2 000% higher compared to an ordinary shopping day in previous years.

Throughout the year, more than a third of fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) are sold at a discounted price. This means that the increasing frequency of discount campaigns are training consumers to buy on promotion and spending trends show that South Africans love a good special.

According to research the Bureau of Market Research (BMR) conducted on behalf of retail finance provider Capital Connect, Black Friday spending is expected to increase from R19 billion in 2022 to R26.6 billion this year.

With 15% of sales happening online last year, a significant proportion of this year’s spending will again be online. For South African consumers this poses many risks related to cyber security and electronic crime.

ALSO LISTEN: PODCAST: What to buy this Black Friday

Many local shoppers eager to buy online

Although some retailers appear not to be particularly fond of Black Friday or Cyber Monday due to the pressure the short term event places on medium-term operational and supply chain planning, many local shoppers are eager to buy online and in-store and therefore most local retailers and many other companies respond with gusto.

In addition, the BMR estimates that this supply-side response could create about 150 000 temporary jobs in South Africa.

“It is challenging to accurately calculate the net impact of Black Friday and Cyber Monday on retail income because some consumers move their holiday spending from December to November. Nonetheless, South African retailers have increasingly designed the shopping holiday to focus on a Black November period, providing a larger volume of smaller sales during the month, rather than solely on the four-day Black Friday and Cyber Monday weekend,” Anton Hugo, leader for retail and consumer industry at PwC South Africa,, says.

South Africa has a consumer-driven economy, with nearly 64% of the country’s gross domestic product (GDP) attributed to private final consumption in 2022. As such, the power of the consumer wallet is critical for the strength of the economy and therefore depends primarily on the strength of the retail sector.

Hugo says it is good news for retailers that South Africans are planning to significantly increase their spending during this year’s Black Friday.

ALSO READ: Five ways to shop wisely and safely on Black Friday

Consumers like to buy on sales such as Black Friday

“While overall consumer sentiment is weak currently, local consumers’ predisposition to buy goods on sale, combined with retailers going all-out to generate sales during Black November, created a positive outlook for retail income during November.

“This is likely to be reflected in retail sales and private sector credit data for November. It could also provide a boost to gross domestic product (GDP) growth momentum during the final quarter of the year,” Christie Viljoen, senior economist at PwC South Africa, says.

Online payment provider PayFast noted last year that the number of transactions on Black Friday 2022 increased by 20% compared to the year before. According to consumer market research company GfK, online channels accounted for around 15% of sales over the Black Friday period last year.

Local results from PwC’s Global Consumer Insights Survey Pulse 6 indicated growth in online shopping is driven by its ability to enhance the phygital (physical plus digital) shopping experience. South African consumers enjoy deeper relationships with their favourite retailers and brands by reducing frustrating, high-friction interactions.

Online channels allow retailers to connect with consumers higher up in the purchasing process, in essence before they decide to buy something, to influence the outcome. The survey also found that South African shoppers increased their online shopping this year as load shedding had an impact on their traditional shopping options.

In addition, unlike in America where Black Friday falls on a long weekend (after the Thanksgiving holiday on a Thursday), South Africans do not get a day off for shopping. This makes online shopping from home or work very attractive.

Hugo points out that increased online shopping carries increased cyber risks, with growing mobile handset usage and electronic payments opening up new avenues for cyberattacks in the form of ongoing fraudulent campaigns aimed at capitalising on services offered to the public, especially during events like Black Friday and Cyber Monday.

ALSO READ: Survey shows what financially-distressed consumers will buy on Black Friday

Beware of these risks when buying online on Black Friday

In PwC’s experience, these may manifest in various forms and impact consumers differently, such as:

  • Phishing emails, where cybercriminals impersonate legitimate e-commerce sites to trick users into revealing sensitive information.
  • Counterfeit websites, where criminals create fake online shopping websites that mimic legitimate ones to steal your personal and financial information. It could also result in either non-delivery of purchased items or the sale of counterfeit goods.
  • Social engineering attacks, where criminals use manipulative techniques, such as psychological manipulation or trickery, to deceive others and gain access to confidential information or systems. This is done through methods such as phishing, spear phishing, smishing or vishing.
  • Data breaches, where cyber criminals hack e-commerce platforms to expose personal consumer data. Criminals can also install additional malware that gives them long-term access to these platforms.
  • Ransomware attacks, where cyber criminals deploy ransomware to encrypt user data and demand payment for its release.
  • Payment fraud, where cyber-criminals intercept and use credit card details during online transactions or perform unauthorised digital purchases using stolen payment details.
  • Identity theft, where cyber criminals gain unauthorised access to user credentials, leading to theft or misuse of personal information.
  • Unsecured wi-fi networks, where scammers can access the data transmitted between a consumers and e-commerce platforms. 

“Shoppers must be extra careful when buying online. The list of risks, including counterfeit websites, social engineering attacks, payment fraud and identity theft, makes them vulnerable to unscrupulous characters,” Hamil Bhoora, cyber security leader at PwC South Africa, says.

“To mitigate these risks, shoppers can take precautions like verifying website legitimacy and security before buying, using secure payment methods and avoiding public wi-fi connections for transactions, checking reviews about sellers and keeping their preferred devices updated with the latest secure software.”

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Fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG)

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