BLACK FRIDAY LIVE | While stores are quieter, online shopping has been brisk

Business Insider SA
Shoppers queue outside the Woodmead Retail Park on Friday, 27 November. Photo: Chanté Schatz, News24

  • Here's what you need to know about Black Friday, including the good deals, the bad deals, and what to watch out for.
  • This article is regularly updated as new information becomes available.
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So far, Black Friday 2020 may look somewhat quieter in-store, but initial estimates show that online shopping increased from last year.  

While there were long queues at some outlet stores, in particular at Woodmead Retail Park in Johannesburg, most malls did not see the same frantic foot traffic as in previous years. 

Numbers from Bankserv, which facilitates both online and in-store card payments in SA, show that there were 45% fewer card transactions at stores between 09:00 and 10:00 on Friday morning, than during the same hour on Black Friday 2019.

But during the same time, the number of online transactions were 52% more than in the same hour last year – almost 131,000 transactions compared to 86,143.

By early afternoon (between 15:00 and 16:00) the number of online transactions were almost 90% more than the same hour in the previous year. 

On average, BankservAfrica processes an average of 304,000 online transactions daily in South Africa– by 17:00 on Black Friday, 637,358 online transactions were reached.

Last year, total spending on Black Friday and Cyber Monday was R6 billion - more than double 2018's R2.9 billion.

RMB predicted that – despite the economic damage wreaked by the pandemic - this year's Black Friday sales could be an even bigger retail event than the festive season, for the first time.  

Here are some of the best Black Friday deals we've found this year: 

Best grocery and household offers

Black Friday is an important day for bulk-buyers who are stocking up for the festive season.

While the range of discounted offers seemed smaller this year, some discounts were deep. Some products attracted a lot of competitive pricing, with retailers seemingly battling it out over nappies.

Here are some of the best offers we could find:

Black Friday 2020 | Some of the best grocery and household deals - including really cheap nappies

Shoppers outside the Woodmead Retail Park. Photo: Chanté Schatz, News24

Best booze deals

Like much of Black Friday 2020, booze sales are a little dire.

You're not going to save 75% if you are stocking up on Christmas booze; the discounts are a bit lacklustre across the board.

But there are a couple of low-ish prices worth a look, across spirits, wine, and beer.

Black Friday 2020 | Our favourite booze deals in South Africa this Black Friday

Top tech and electronic deals 

If it's steep discounts you're after you'll need to be shelling out for the top of the range items - there's very little to play for in the entry-level models across the tech sphere.

Retailers are also watering down their once-in-a-lifetime deals, and many are instead offering discounts seen at other times of the year.

Still, we found a couple of tech and electronic deals that may be worth your while:

Black Friday 2020 | The best tech and electronic deals you'll likely find today

Top travel deals

There are big discounts offered by local airlines and travel groups this year as part of Black Friday.

Return flights from Johannesburg (O.R. Tambo) to Cape Town International range from R422 in the first week of December to just over R1,000 from the middle of the month to the Christmas period.

There are also discount offers of up to 65% on guesthouses, villas, chalets and more.

Black Friday 2020 | Here are some of the best travel deals, including flights for under R300

Top toy deals

Bargain hunters with an eye on filling the Christmas stockings, have their work cut out for them this year.

While Toys R Us are offering proper discounts of up to 70%, and Toy Kingdom is running a 4 for 3 special on everything in stock, all day - we had to look hard for solid specials.

Here are the ones we found:

Black Friday 2020 | Toy are hard to find this year – here are our favouritesdeals

Plenty of deals on watches, sports gear

Given the non-existent winter sport season, retailers are clearly sitting with excess stock of soccer boots in particular. 

There are also massive sales on watches across retailers.

You have to search a bit harder for branded fashion deals, but we found a couple of half-price offers: 

Black Friday 2020 | 10 of the best fashion brand deals still down - as shoppers wait for 100%-off deals

By midday on Friday, OneDayOnly’s desktop site has been down for more than four hours, with app users also reporting login issues. OneDayOnly is yet to update shoppers on the status of its online orders.

In the early hours of Friday, OneDayOnly was met with a barrage of criticism. Bargain hunters who had stayed up past midnight complained that the desktop site was crashing. OneDayOnly issued a response via Twitter shortly before 08:00. “Our developers are working hard to fix any technical difficulties you may be experiencing on our site,” said the retailer.

This year, OneDayOnly has returned with its 100% off promotion on a number of products, prompting a fastest-fingers-first rush which has strained the site’s stability.

OneDayOnly urged shoppers to download the mobile app to avoid missing out on deals while the website was down but customers complained of login and checkout issues.

Despite the wide-ranging technical issues, OneDayOnly continues to drop random 100% discount deals which are “sold out in seconds”. By 09:00, the list of free items already sold included shirts, pillows, a skipping rope, coffee pods, peak caps, power banks, condoms, weber braais, Hisense televisions and Huawei mobile phones.

Here is a live list of 100% discounted items available on OneDayOnly which could be yours if you’re able to access the site quick enough.

Incredible Connection's midnight-release deals 

In some of its Black Friday listings, technology retailer Incredible Connection is not even trying. By its own numbers the discount it is offering on a nearly R40,000 27-inch iMac comes in at 2.5%

And while it is selling a 190cm Samsung QLED smart TV (model 75Q80T) for a claimed R15,000 discount, at R40,000, well, so is everyone else.

But depending on exactly what you need, there may be gems hidden deep in the listings. Take, for example the Epson Eco Tank printer, model L7160. At R5,000 you are looking at well under half the price you'd be paying at the competition today – if you were in the market for a pretty expensive A4 printer.

Hirsch's Black Friday deals went live at midnight as promised – with attractive rand (if not percentage) discounts

The electronics and household goods chain Hirsch's organised its sales in the run-up to Black Friday in tiers starting at one, and at midnight it released its final "Level 5" offers.

In percentage terms the savings are not all huge, but they add up for the big-ticket items. The Dyson V11 Absolute vacuum cleaner normally retails for closer to R16,000 than the R16,400 Hirsch’s claims – but its R13,000 offer is still a 19% discount. (Then again, you can get it for R5 less elsewhere.) Likewise, the “normal” price Hirsch’s claims on its flagship (online only) offer, for a 85’’ Samsung QLED 4K TV (model QA85Q70TAKXXA) is a little overblown. The real saving on the giant TV it is selling for R40,000 is actually an even 20% – but that’s still R10,000 less than you would normally pay elsewhere.

Stock is, of course, limited.

Surging coronavirus infections in various parts of South Africa have renewed worries about the heavy retail traffic the day depends on

As South Africa's coronavirus alert level dropped, retailers could breath a sigh of relief: Black Friday would not have to be cancelled due to a hard lockdown.

Then, over a matter of days, a resurgence in infections changed things again, with Garden Route hospitals full, excess deaths in the Nelson Mandela Bay area above those recorded in the first wave of Covid-19, and the Western Cape government saying Cape Town is developing into a hotspot again.

Retailers have promised to manage the number of people in their stores and manage queues – but in previous years have struggled to prevent stampedes, and more recently have struggled to enforce mask wearing and hand sanitisation on a consistent basis.

In previous years, bigger shopping malls have seen a much larger increase in visitors than their smaller peers. During hard lockdown, on the other hand, consumers avoided regional mega-malls in favour of smaller local malls. These smaller strip-style malls tend to offer direct access to each individual store from the open air, as opposed to the enclosed warren of shops typical of large malls.

This Black Friday, experts say, may see a return of shoppers to those bigger, more enclosed malls.

Just what that may mean for infection rates will only become clear weeks after the fact.

Clicks kicks Black Friday off with half price discounts on home appliances

Clicks has entered the Black Friday frenzy by offering both online and in-store discounts between 26 November and 2 December. This follows a savings countdown throughout November which formed part of an extended Black Friday promotion.

Shoppers who wish to avoid storefronts during the Black Friday rush can explore Clicks’ online-only deals, which currently lists more than 50 items, ranging from baby strollers to beauty products with discounts of up to 40%. These exclusive online offerings will be updated throughout the promotional period.

Clicks Clubcard holders have been advised to download the mobile app and take advantage of the loyalty cashback option to optimise Black Friday savings.

Clicks’ biggest discounts apply to Safeway and Kambrook electrical products. Both online and in-store offerings range from 20% to 50% savings depending on the number of items purchased. Shoppers who purchase four Safeway or Kambrook products in the same cart will receive a half price discount.

Safeway products on special include microwaves, toasters, kettles, and electric frying pans. This four-pack kitchen outfit will cost less than R2,000 during the Black Friday promotion. Kambrook kitchen appliances, which are considered to be of superior quality to Safeway’s offerings, are, on average, 35% more expensive, making half price savings more valuable in the long-term.

Clicks’ featured haircare products, which are only available online, include L'Oréal, Matrix, Redken and Mizani. Shoppers who purchase any two of these products will receive a 30% discount.

Clicks will also be running a Cyber Week promotion from 30 November until 6 December.

SANParks offers 40% discount on Black Friday with campsite and chalet bookings valid until March

Travellers looking to explore the country’s natural wonders can take advantage of the South African National Parks’ (SANParks) Black Friday special. On Friday 27 November, all online bookings will be discounted by 40%.

This one-day deal applies to campsites, chalets, trails, and wilderness activities. Bookings made on Black Friday apply to stays between 27 January and 18 March 2021, with weekends included. This online-only offer requires visitors to register via the SANParks portal.

"Online booking for game drives and walks is limited to specific camps in Kruger National Park. Trails that can be booked online are the Otter Trail in Garden Route National Park and Kruger's 4x4 Trails, Backpack Trails and Wilderness Trails," explained Reynold Thakhuli, SANParks’ Acting Head of Communications.

The Black Friday promotion includes access to 18 national parks across all provinces. The only park which is not available at the 40% discount is the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park which straddles the border between Botswana and South Africa.

(Image: Getty)

Popular parks and accommodation on offer include the Addo Elephant National Park which includes stays at the Spekboom Tented Rest Camp and Langebos Huts which usually cost over R1,000 per night per person.

South Africa’s most popular safari destination, the Kruger National Park, will offer discounts on more than 30 campsites, cottages, leisure tens and luxury lodges. Hamilton’s 5-star luxury tented lodge, which would ordinarily cost a couple over R10,000 per night, is also part of the Black Friday offering.

In the Western Cape, discounted accommodation in the Knysna Lakes district, Nature’s Valley, Storms River Mouth and Wilderness – which form the Garden Route National Park – will be popular with Capetonians looking to escape the city with a six-hour drive.

Pick n Pay sold enough chicken to fill two Airbus A380s last Black Friday – 2020 could be bigger

Pick n Pay is hoping to outdo its previous Black Friday performance by extending online offers and updating daily in-store specials. Following this year’s digital trend, which has been bolstered by health concerns around physical shopping experiences, Pick n Pay launched a series of online-only deals on 13 November.

On Monday 23 November, the supermarket chain opened the floor to shoppers by announcing discounts of up to 50% in the run-up to Black Friday. These selected daily deals stretch across all stores, including Pick n Pay hypermarkets, clothing, and liquor.

The retailer’s popular on-demand grocery and liquor delivery app, Bottles, can be used to order goods. To ensure fair stock availability, shoppers won’t be able to order more than six of the same item.

As usual, Pick n Pay Smart Shoppers stand to gain more from their Black Friday experience, earning extra rewards, discounts, and early alerts about special savings. “We’ve secured the best deals on essentials and popular Black Friday buys,” says John Bradshaw, retail executive of marketing at Pick n Pay. “Customers are encouraged to swipe their Smart Shopper card to unlock Smart Price Black Friday savings, but we will have plenty of other deals offering huge savings.”

While Pick n Pay’s online-only deals lean towards specials on small appliances, the retailer is looking to attract shoppers to grocery savings in store. The retail giant says that while cash-strapped consumers will be even more eagle-eyed in 2020, the previous year’s sales point to popular grocery aisle products.

If the amount of UHT Milk sold by Pick n Pay over Black Friday weekend in 2019 were liquid hydrogen, there would be enough to get to the moon and back four times.

Pick n Pay customers bought enough Sparletta to fill two Olympic sized swimming pools and the supermarket chain sold the mass of two Airbus A380s in frozen chicken. One million peppermint crisp tarts could have been made with the quantity of tennis biscuits sold.

Expecting online sales and deliveries to surge, Pick n Pay says that it has significantly increased the number of drivers available over the course of the Black Friday promotion. The number of floor staff has also been adjusted upwards to assist customers with in-store queries.

“Safety measures will remain our top priority to ensure a safe shopping environment,” says Bradshaw. “Queues will be closely managed, and we have also spread out our Black Friday deals in-store to help maintain physical distancing.”

More on Black Friday:

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