The origins of Black Friday in South Africa

Black Friday has become one of the busiest consumer-spending days of the year. Especially, with multiple businesses offering a variety of discounts and specials on their products or services. Last year, a number of well-establish e-commerce sites even crashed due to the volume of consumers visiting their sites. But what is Black Friday and where did it start?

Originally Black Friday started in America on Thanksgiving Day, November 25, and it has spread across the globe rapidly over the last few decades. It started off in the US as a marketing strategy to make money by focusing on volume sales and to move old stock by drastically reducing prices. However, it can fall on any day or period from November 23 to 29. It is now followed by Cyber Monday, when gamers and tech junkies can shop online for goods.

Over the years, Black Friday has been growing in popularity in South Africa. While South Africans do not celebrate Thanksgiving, consumers have long taken advantage of online sales. Seeing this trend, South African retailers have introduced the season event to coincide with the American version.
The popular, large retailer Checkers has claimed that they were the first to bring it to South Africa in 2014. They have also claimed that in 2015 they served more than one million people on that sales day. eNCA reports that since 2016  sales had gained a lot more popularity because of retailers’ use of social media.

In 2019, Black Friday beat Cyber Monday as the busiest online shopping day: 93.2 million shopped online vs. 83.3 million on Cyber Monday. According to Abobe, small businesses can experience a +107% revenue boost over the holiday season, and 38% of consumers aim to make a deliberate effort to shop at smaller retailers throughout the holiday season.

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