Top 3 hot items tipped for Black Friday sales, plus how to stay safe
This year’s Black Friday event, which has become a major highlight on the South African calendar, is expected to bring in higher sales volumes than last year.
Many retailers that were hard-hit by decreased consumer spend in 2020 have started offering their specials ahead of schedule, giving consumers more time to exercise their spend.
This is according to Nelisa Zulu, head of card and payments at Standard Bank SA.
Though lockdown restrictions have eased, consumers are still wary of large crowds and many people have now become more comfortable with online shopping, said Zulu, resulting in phenomenal growth for e-commerce.
Data from the Online Retail in South Africa 2021 study conducted by World Wide Worx with the support of Mastercard, Standard Bank and Platinum Seed showed that in 2018, online stores sold about R14bn worth of goods, representing 1.4% of the total retail market, growing to more than R30bn in 2020.
Pre-pandemic, travel contributed by far the most to credit card spend online, however since online travel spend dropped off, grocery stores picked up some of the slack and this resulted in flat growth, said Zulu.
The bank’s online card transaction data shows that grocery stores and general retailers remain the top category for online spend with accommodation making a comeback this year and accounting for 36% of online transactions. Restaurant spend is also up significantly (250%) year to date.
Where are consumers likely to spend this year?
- Travel and experiences — consumers looking for value on holidays and experiences may feature this year, said Zulu. “Instead of going overseas, we may find that people will look for value closer to home and try to get more experiences for the same amount of money.”
- Electronics — electronic devices will continue to offer value and attract consumers, especially as they have adopted more online lifestyles as necessitated by the impact of Covid-19 and associated lockdowns, said Zulu.
- Groceries — grocery retailers feature as the bank’s most popular stores for spend and will be an area where consumers will part with their money this Black Friday to find the best deals and stock up on essential grocery items ahead of the festive season.
Top considerations for shoppers going into this year’s Black Friday:
- Price comparison websites — make use of these sites to compare prices and find value deals.
- Reputable stores — use reviews on multiple sites to verify the authenticity of goods and products.
- Secure payment mechanisms — shop on sites that are digitally secure.
- Verify — be wary of shopping on sites that do not have physical addresses and contact details.
Stay safe when going to the malls this Black Friday
Shopping centres and malls are expected to become extremely busy over the next few days and weeks, as retailers lure customers with Black Friday and other festive season shopping deals and specials, said the Fidelity Services Group.
“As we approach this busy retail period, we must remember that the risk of robberies or other unscrupulous activity increases. Criminal elements are attracted to large gatherings of this kind, and knowing what to do in the event of a mall robbery could save your life,” Charnel Hattingh, its head of marketing and communications, said.
Hattingh offered this advice:
If you are in the store that is being robbed:
- Co-operate with robbers for your own safety. Listen to their instructions closely and follow their instructions. Try to keep as calm as possible. Everyone reacts in a different way but try to breathe deeply until help arrives.
- Do not use your cellphone while the robbery is in process, this could agitate the assailants.
- Immediately try to find a sheltered spot and keep low on the ground.
- Take note of the assailants to pass information on to the authorities — what they were wearing, any distinctive clothes, markings, jewellery and so on. Try to remember what they look like — height, weight, and so on.
- Ensure your children are always kept close to you. Do not let children wander off while you are shopping.
- Do not shop with large amounts of cash or valuables.
If you are not in the store being robbed:
- Speak with the store personnel to first close the roller shutter doors. This is also standard operating procedures in many malls and move to the back of the store, out of sight.
- Try to find a store closest to you and secure yourself.
- Do not try to exit via the standard entry and exit points as these are the same points the robbers will be using.
Hattingh also recommends that people pay attention to the journey to and from the mall. “Be on the lookout for anyone that might be following you. If anything feels suspicious, rather continue driving and try to get to a police station or anyone else that could assist.”
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