South Africans are more and more adopting retail opportunities from other global markets and turning these opportunities to celebrate and shop unofficially.
Popularity of retail opportunities such as “Black Friday” has seen more South Africans seek for retail sales, in a context that was not originally an official South African custom. South African consumers are no longer confined to a specific season or geographic location in order to celebrate and adopt certain customs. But can enjoy the benefits of retail promotions locally with the same experiences as anywhere else in the world.
Is Black Friday necessary for South Africans?
Black Friday is an informal name for the day following Thanksgiving Thursday Holiday in the US, where retailers go on big sales in support of Thanksgiving and also as a sales event to kick off the festive season Christmas shoppings. Critics might argue that this is not relevant for the South African market and is unnessacerry to bring US shopping customs to our local market.
There are two important elements to consider
1) No longer does the world live in separated silos and markets. Globalization has been around for decades and has become such a norm in the consumer world that it has become irrelevant to argue about it. In the context of Black Friday, the whole world is in on it from Europe to Asia to the America’s therefore the retail concept has moved beyond borders to accommodating any and every consumer around the world that is looking for a good sale and retail experience. There so many international retail brands in South Africa that it is not a suprise that they would also choose to have sales in their stores even in South Africa.
2) The consumer at the center. The South African consumer is set to gain much more value for money from the variety of sales from every category possible. A sale or promotion might not always be in the best interest for building a brand. However for consumers its an advantage to get the best deals.
Thanksgiving is a cultural American heritage day to do with the cultural values and customs. Where as Black Friday is more focused on retail and consumerism. Hence the name “Black Friday” originating from the Philadelphia Police Department. Describing the mayhem surrounding the congestion of pedestrian and auto traffic in the downtown area because of all the retail sales going on.
South African consumers are interested in modern shopping habits like any other consumers globally. However this does not mean that they are forgetting their cultural roots and values, when going out to malls to shop for specials. They are merely engaging in retail shopping habits and experiences that provide opportunity for them to get more value. No South African will be celebrating Thanksgiving on Thursday, however come the Friday. South African malls and online stores will be filled with consumers.
The focus is therefore about retail and consumer benefits in this instance. The key learning is there are opportunities in our very own holidays that can set rise to new shopping trends. Occasions that we as South Africans can also own.