South African purchases on Black Friday are best for four years​

By our News Team | 2022

In-store purchasing remains notably more popular than online shopping, but with virtual card usage on the rise.

Customers of FNB, the South African-based banking group, spent more on Black Friday purchases this year than they have in four years, with spending exceeding US$176,2-million (R3-billion). More than $141-million (R2.4-billion) of this was spent in-store, whereas over $39,4-million (R670-million) was for online shopping.

The bank said its virtual cards (digital bank cards) also saw a significant increase in spending, accounting for more than $8-million (R137-million) in purchases – a 280% increase over the previous year.

Black Friday

Photo by Karolina Grabowska at Pexels

“In a market where consumers are seeing an increase in the cost of living, many were always likely to take advantage of Black Friday deals,” said Chris Labuschagne, CEO of FNB Card.

“As anticipated, the most popular spending categories – including travel and transportation, groceries, clothing, and entertainment – experienced a robust recovery.

“The increase in travel is especially encouraging, given that many consumers were unable to travel in the past few years due to global travel limitations, and it augurs well for the South African economy as the festive season approaches.” 

Ashley Saffy, Head of Business Development at FNB Card, noted that customers are increasingly choosing safer and more convenient payment methods, such as using their virtual cards for online spend and doing contactless card and device transactions for in-store purchases.

“The value of online spend increased by 31% compared to the same period last year, while instore spend increased by 18%. It’s also encouraging to see that contactless payments increased by 36% compared to last year’s Black Friday, demonstrating that customers are becoming more aware of convenient and safer payment methods, whether they shop in-store or online.” 

Electronic and appliances among the big sellers

Meanwhile PayFast, a South African online payment gateway, reports that electronics, appliances, beauty and fashion, drove the bulk of sales over this year’s Black Friday weekend. Mobile payments comprised 70% of total sales transactions, versus 30% on desktop.

The average basket size was $59 (R1 255), slightly higher than 2021, which recorded an average of $71 (R1 208) per basket.

One person clearly had the Black Friday spirit and spent a total of $23 390 (R397 217), which was split over two purchases.

While many retailers have reverted to the one-day format of Black Fridays past, big names have been running specials for the entire month of November. Despite this, e-commerce activity spiked on Black Friday itself,” said Brendon Williamson, Managing Director at PayFast.

“Transactions peaked between 9-10am, with many shoppers already making purchases just after midnight.”