Data analytics company Lightstone has published data around Black Friday shopping trends in South Africa and what to expect in 2020.
The group reported a 35% increase in overall shopping activity compared to that of a normal month-end on Black Friday 2019 – with a similar pattern observed in 2018.
Black Friday 2019 coincided with the end of the month (29 November), as opposed to 2018 when Black Friday occurred a week before month-end on 23 November – allowing for different shopping behaviours between both years.
“Our conclusion was that there was an additional uplift in activity during 2019 when Black Friday behaviour and month-end shopping behaviour was combined,” said Linda Reid from Lightstone.
Aggregated and anonymised data from vehicle tracking company Tracker, showed that during the previous two years, shopping destinations were busier two days before Black Friday compared to other normal weekdays.
“With many retailers offering ‘Black Month’ discounts in 2020, it will be interesting to compare the entire month’s activity to that of previous years,” Reid said.
Lightstone’s data show that Gateway in KZN saw the most traffic on Black Friday 2019, however it is also the mall which sees the most traffic during a typical month-end.
By comparison, Menlyn Park Shopping Centre in Pretoria shot up to second place (from 6th) compared to its traditional month-end traffic, with Mall of Africa in Johannesburg moving to third.
Lightstone’s data shows that bigger shopping malls enjoyed a 35% lift, compared to smaller shopping destinations where an uplift of only 10% was seen.
Michael du Preez, executive of product and marketing at Tracker South Africa, said that rural towns saw some of the biggest proportional increases which could be attributed to the fact that residents in these areas have limited access to ecommerce sites.
“Although the shopper volumes may be lower than in cities, the increase in shoppers was notable nonetheless,” he said.
Du Preez said that towns that swelled most in comparison to normal behaviour included Louis Trichardt, Lichtenburg, City of Matlosona outskirts, Msinga outskirts, Bela-Bela, and outskirts of Dihlabeng.
“After we’ve seen the retail industry weather some serious blows during lockdown, shoppers appear to be returning to visiting malls as frequently as they did before lockdown,” said Reid.
Lightstone reported previously that during the hard lockdown period, shoppers opted for smaller neighbourhood centres (or strip malls) instead of larger shopping centres.
However, this is not the case with current patterns, and according to Reid there is no reason to anticipate the same for Black Friday.
Black Friday has always kicked off the Christmas spending spree with mall activity post-Black Friday constantly being higher than the weeks before, Reid said.
“Retailers have indicated that consumers should expect unprecedented discounts this year, although it is still unknown whether the severe effects of lockdown will influence consumer spend.”