Black Friday sales data reflective of consumer strain, online shopping preference – Ecentric

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Date from Ecentric Payment Systems shows that consumers are carefully shopping around while also spending less

5th December 2023

By: Tasneem Bulbulia

Senior Contributing Editor Online


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Although the volume of Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales increased over this sales period, data from payment service provider Ecentric Payment Systems shows that the value of transactions and the timing of purchases made indicate that consumers are carefully shopping around while also spending less.

Consumers also opted to buy everyday items instead of luxuries, indicating that they had been waiting for deals on daily needs and, perhaps, stocking up on non-perishable goods, Ecentric product manager Wesley Fetter says.

“The rand value, on average, over the extended Black Friday period was – in real terms that strips out inflation – behind the past few years. This shows the pressure consumers are under,” Fetter explains.

Companies that use Ecentric’s payment dashboard to monitor sales, which the company says includes South Africa’s largest retailers, processed more than R1.1-billion in deals. However, there was a 5.06% decline in transaction volume and, in real terms, value dropped 12%.

“We saw retailers start offering sale prices ahead of the traditional November 24 date, which also led to a shift in trends when it comes to peak days,” Fetter avers.

Online and retail sales both peaked on November 25, the day after Black Friday. This is an indication that people wanted to avoid the queues that are typical of Black Friday, Ecentric posits.

Statistics South Africa’s (Stats SA’s) latest retail data print, published in mid-October, indicates that sales in consumer-facing goods declined 0.5% year-on-year in August.

However, this is not as much as expected, based on a Bloomberg survey indicating a consensus of a 1.2% slump predicted by economists, Ecentric points out.

“While we wait for Stats SA to publish the next set of figures for October on December 13, the best window we currently have on how consumers are faring in this high interest rate environment is data from one of the biggest sale periods of the year,” Fetter says.

Just more than two-thirds of the country’s gross domestic product is made up by consumer spending.


This year’s shopping trends also saw a marked shift towards online shopping, with consumers using virtual shops to price check, while also preferring to buy big ticket items online.

“This is likely an indication of South Africa’s e-commerce growth,” Fetter suggests.

World Wide Worx’s latest report on online sales ‘Online Retail in South Africa 2022’ conducted in association with Mastercard, shows that the 30% e-commerce growth in 2022 took the value of the market to R55-billion.

This, the report says, is indicative of the post-Covid-19 change in shopping habits, with people sticking to the trend of buying goods that are delivered to their door.

Ecentric customer experience executive Andrew Wilmot says there was more online growth between 2021 and 2022 than this year.

Ahead of next year, retailers need to focus on offering more deals as South Africa continues to battle to right the economy in the face of daily loadshedding, Wilmot emphasises.

“Whichever way you look at it, South Africans are battling and want more value for their money,” he says. 

Edited by Chanel de Bruyn
Creamer Media Senior Deputy Editor Online



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