Digital footprints show retailers what shoppers are waiting to buy

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Black Friday has, by far, become the biggest shopping day of the year in South Africa, data from Absa and its corporate clients shows.

South Africans take Black Friday more seriously than any other market in the world.

Absa gathers data with point-of-sale card machines, of which it has a 70% market share. It also derives data from consumers wherever they're using an Absa card.

Here's what Absa found:

  • The biggest spending day in South Africa is Black Friday.

  • Two out of every three South Africans with a bank card took part in the last Black Friday.

  • Black Friday – once mainly a Gauteng and Western Cape phenomenon – is becoming popular across the country.

  • The weekend of 31 August and 1 September came in second (in terms of spending)

  • On the last Fridays of the month, 55% of spending goes to groceries.

  • On Black Friday, big-ticket electronics made up 22% of all spending.

  • Some retailers had great success with midnight opening times while others that attempted this strategy eroded their turnover.

...There are things that you want that you'd wait for... Say I've been on the Seafolly website a couple of times, somebody tracking my digital profile would've known I'm interested in that item. But I had to wait for Black Friday [for a discount that made it affordable for her to buy]...

Isana Cordier, Sector Head for Consumer Goods and Services - Absa CIB (speaking at an "Absa Insights" event)

Consumers are waiting for Black Friday to spend on electronics. What if retailers knew long before that day what products they're curious about? Would they market differently?

[Watch] Isana Cordier explains in detail how massive Black Friday has become and how retailers can use data to inform their marketing in anticipation of the event.