Every year, consumers and business owners gear up for the Black Friday buzz. Despite being a relatively new feat in the pre-Christmas calendar in South Africa, Black Friday deals and promos have gained a lot of traction in the country. Shoppers prep their carts and businesses get the specials ready for the big weekend well ahead of time.


Despite it being a relatively big deal in the yearly shopping calendar, 2020 no doubt was a little different. With many shoppers moving away from shopping in physical stores to reduce their risk during the pandemic, retail sales fell from 7 million transactions in 2019 to 4.7 million in 2020 according to BankservAfrica. Black Friday 2020 showed its worst annual growth in the four years that Bankserv has reported on it.


While Black Friday 2021 may not be as successful as 2019 and previous years in terms of sales, there are some key statistics – globally and locally – from 2020 that all SMEs can learn from to make informed decisions for this year, and beyond.


Global Insights


According to SEMRush’s global data, technology was the most popular product group in 2020, with searches related to buying online increasing by 50% from 2019 to 2020. Global trends show that consumers have become far more familiar with online shopping and are therefore more likely to do so going forward.


In preparing for the Black Friday weekend, businesses advertised and launched their specials by October 2020, earlier than previous years.


Global e-commerce trends.

                                   Source: SEMRush


The 10 most commonly searched for retailers for Black Friday worldwide are:


  • Walmart
  • Amazon
  • Best Buy
  • Target
  • MediaMarkt
  • Kohl’s
  • Home Depot
  • GameStop
  • Lowe’s
  • Costco


Local Insights


According to Finder, local research from 2020 has shown some useful insights into Black Friday in South Africa. 


  • Men are more interesting in Black Friday sales than women (73% versus 68% respectively)
  • 18 – 44 year olds are more enticed by deals, compared to the 45 – 65+ age group
  • The most popular product categories include flights, gadgets, laptops, gaming consoles and cellphones


Interestingly, South Africa was found to rank highest amongst 12 other countries for highest percentage of consumers who are enticed by Black Friday deals:


Graph indicating SA as highest percentage of consumers who are enticed by Black Friday deals.

                                Source: Finder.com


The South African retailers with the highest search volumes are:


  • Game
  • Makro
  • Takealot
  • Checkers
  • PicknPay
  • Evetech
  • Clicks
  • Incredible Connection
  • HiFi Corp
  • Edgars


 “Black Friday has certainly been different for South Africans, which many expected to be the case. We have seen a steady growth in our online shopping figures, which mirrors the South African consumers’ growing inclination for the e-commerce shopping experience,” says Martin Grunewald, Chief Business Officer at BankservAfrica.

Understanding the previous year’s trends is vital for preparing your online business for Black Friday 2021. Despite Black Friday sales declining, e-commerce is growing which is positive for the retail industry.