Five South African shoppers appear to have celebrated the festive season early as they collectively spent almost R3.5 million this Black Friday weekend.
If consumer spending was a reflection of a country’s economic climate, one could be forgiven for thinking that here, in South Africa, money is growing on rows of lush trees lining our streets.
Over just five days of this Black Friday and Cyber Monday period – from Thursday, November 23 to Tuesday, November 28, online payment service provider Ozow recorded record-breaking shopping sprees that soared into the millions.
The average basket spend was more than 100 percent higher than the same period in 2022, says chief executive Thomas Pays. He attributes this surge and the wider distribution of purchase times to the fact that retailers extended their sales events, giving customers more time for mindful purchases.
“It's a testament to the adaptability of both retailers and consumers in the digital era and current economic environment.”
Black Friday was particularly noteworthy, with the highest single transaction value on Ozow reaching a “remarkable” R818,000 for a purchase in the travel industry.
“This underscores an extraordinary level of consumer trust and strong market demand for our platform,” Pay says.
Following this transaction, which was recorded on Black Friday itself, Ozow saw these record transactions by just four shoppers:
– R800,000 in 10 transactions
– R700,000 in five transactions
– R600,000 in three transactions
– R550,000 in three transactions
The total spend from just the top four customers was R3.468m.
Other trends included:
– Peak transacting hours were 1pm, 7pm, and 8pm
– The highest single transaction in the retail sector was R466,000
– The most transactions by a single consumer was 94 on Thursday
"We're incredibly proud of this weekend's performance.
“The record-breaking transaction on Black Friday underlines our commitment to offering a seamless, secure, and efficient payment platform. The trust placed in us by merchants and consumers to process their payments both big and small propels our drive to open the digital economy to all South Africans.”
Consumer spending on Peach Payments, another digital payment platform, shows that the food and beverage industry, as well as retail, were the big online winners over the Black Friday and Cyber Monday weekend. Travel and accommodation came a close third, says head of enterprise sales Glenda Steyn.
The largest transactions processed on Black Friday and Cyber Monday were both in the travel and accommodation industry, with spends of R385,381 and R440,000 respectively. In 2022, the two highest spends in this industry were R100,828 and R132,600.
Overall, the travel and accommodation sector industry saw growth of a “staggering” 341 percent in rand value compared to 2022. While this figure includes new merchants that were not on the Peach Payments platform last year, spending in this area grew by 29 percent without them.
Retail industry activity grew by 52 percent in transaction count and by 41 percent in rand value, and the spending in the food and beverage sector grew by just over 57 percent, both in rand value and in number of transactions.
Steyn says these figures make sense within the broader South African context as families try to manage their expenses in the face of rising food inflation and interest rates, but also hope to be able to go away for a break, which the specials on Black Friday and Cyber Monday make possible.
“Despite the economic pressures, the sheer volume of online payments South Africa’s economy supports is impressive.”
She adds: “We believe that there are a lot of merchants poised to scale their businesses in 2024. This weekend’s trading was a foretaste of what we can expect in 2024, particularly after the elections.”