South Africans turn to e-commerce for Black Friday

This year saw less foot traffic in retail stores than previous years for Black Friday, as South Africans feel the economic pinch and still prefer to stay at home as much as possible due to the pandemic. It is one of the reasons why e-commerce has seen a massive growth at the same time retail stores are reporting disappointing sales for Black Friday.

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Analysts revealed that millions of people have been introduced to e-commerce and general online shopping for the first time as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. According to PayFast, an online payment gateway operator, this has led to a massive spike in online sales this Black Friday.

The total numbers of online transactions over the Black Friday weekend shot up a massive 50 percent compared to the same time in 2019. PayFast said they have processes a 283 percent increase in total payment volumes on Black Friday alone compared to a normal busy day such as pay day or the last day of the month.

“This year’s Black Friday spend surpassed the volumes we’ve seen in previous years. The rapid adoption of e-commerce over the course of 2020 has meant that we’ve seen more people shopping online, especially amid fears of a Covid-19 resurgence,” said PayFast MD Jonathan Smit in a statement.

The numbers also show that shoppers without laptops or personal computers are increasingly ordering online, with mobile device purchases now totalling two-thirds of total transaction volumes. This also includes people that simply prefer the convenience of ordering on mobile or are taking advantage of an offer they saw in an add on their social media feeds.

The highest single transaction on the day through PayFast was R299,950 – a car perhaps – and shoppers spent 55 percent more per basket in 2020, spending R1,243 on average compared to R803 in 2019.

“Alongside big-ticket items like TVs and gaming consoles, more purchases were made online for items that are traditionally brick-and-mortar retail store-focused, like toiletries, cosmetics and essentials,” said Smit.