Here is a flashback on how Black Friday began, how it became so popular and how much shoppers are spending on the biggest shopping day of the year.

How did Black Friday begin?

In the 1960s in the United States, accountants kept their records by hand and indicated a loss with red ink and a profit with black ink. “Black” refers to stores moving from the “red” to the “black” (Source: Black Friday is one of the biggest shopping days of the year with discounted deals in-store and online. It’s usually between the 23rd and 29th of November, the Friday after Thanksgiving. For many people Black Friday is the ideal day to do their Christmas shopping.

In South Africa, Black Friday started in 2014 and is only getting bigger each year as more and more brands get on board. Checkers was the first retailer to bring Black Friday to South Africa having more than one million customers on the day (Source: Business Tech).

How did Black Friday become so popular?

Retailers realised that they could draw large numbers by offering consumers discounted prices putting their items up for sale from electronics and toys to home accessories and apparel. Consumers started shopping more online than going into the stores to avoid long queues in the early morning hours and shoppers fighting over product items. Another benefit of shopping online is that you can see which items are on discount and which ones are in stock. If an item is out of stock you can simply browse around for that item that’s in stock instead of traveling from store to store. South African retailers faced a few challenges in the last two years with some of the websites that crashed due to a huge influx of online visitors. Takealot, for example, had 2.2 million online visitors on the day alone (Source: Takealot). Chief marketing officer at online retailer Takealot Julie-Anne Walsh said: “We have to ensure our site can handle the five-fold increase in traffic and that the payment mechanisms stay up.”

How much do shoppers spend on Black Friday?
  • US$7.9 billion was generated in US online sales in 2017 (including Thanksgiving) which increased with 17.9% from 2016 (Source: Adobe).
  • 174 million Americans shopped over that weekend in 2017 – on Thanksgiving through to Cyber Monday (Source: NRF).
  • In 2017, it was a massive hit for South African retailers with consumer activity increasing on average by 624% when compared to an ordinary day (Source: com).
  • Even though Takealot suffered a massive downtime on Black Friday 2017, they’ve generated more than R6-million in Gross Merchandising Value in the first hour, growing to over R87-million by the end of the day (Source: Takealot).
  • For Superbalist Black Friday is their biggest trading day to date. Their sales growth was 118% on Black Friday 2017 compared to 2016 (Source: Memeburn).

Black Friday 2018 is around the corner and companies are already preparing their offerings and getting their marketing strategy in place. Email is one of the leading drivers for online sales on Black Friday, but also an effective marketing tool to create anticipation and provide your customers with sneak peeks via email of what to expect so that they are ready on the big day to checkout their baskets. Are you Black Friday ready? Get in touch: Digital Fire