South Africa
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Financial services 24 Nov 2023

Standard Bank expects consumers to tread cautiously with spend this Black Friday

This year's Black Friday weekend is expected to bring in record sales with retailers already offering their discounts in the hopes of capturing consumer spend ahead of competitors, giving consumers more time to exercise their spend.

Tumelo Ramugondo, Head: Credit Card, Standard Bank SA, says that given the current trajectory in month to date sales, Standard Bank expects sales volumes to break the 10 million mark during the Black Friday weekend this year.

Although, as a consequence of various economic factors placing strain on disposable incomes, he anticipates that consumers will approach the Black Friday shopping event carefully and be more discerning about whether they opt into offers, especially when it comes to luxury items.

Less luxury, focus on essentials

"Increased inflation, sustained high interest rates and high unemployment have negatively impacted household disposable income and the ability to qualify for additional credit," Ramugondo explains. "Furthermore, there's added pressure on the consumer's ability to pay down existing debt. As such, spending behaviours have shifted away from luxury items and more towards essentials."

An analysis of Standard Bank’s card transaction data shows that grocery stores and supermarkets remain the top category for spend, followed by restaurants and eating places, fuel products and services, department and variety stores, and retail clothing and footwear. Ramugondo says that supermarkets will likely attract the most spend this Black Friday weekend as cash-strapped consumers look to stock up on essentials ahead of the upcoming festive season.

More online deals

While shoppers will flock to physical stores over the weekend, many consumers who have downscaled brick and mortar presence post Covid and shifted to online shopping will opt to take advantage of the increasing number of online deals.

Ramugondo explains that the ability for retailers to provide discounts is also more prevalent across online channels due to lower operating costs. He notes that various pre-Black Friday deals are being offered via e-commerce platforms. During the first two weeks of November, Standard Bank had already observed a more than 13% increase in Card Not Present transaction volumes compared to the same period in 2022.

He reminds consumers to be vigilant during this time of year as criminals take advantage of high shopping volumes in physical stores and in the e-commerce world. "Be aware of pickpockets and bag-snatchers, especially in large, crowded stores. Prioritise online safety measures; use safe passwords, avoid transacting on public Wi-Fi networks."

Finally, he says that Standard Bank is encouraging consumers to transact responsibly and being smart about credit when interest rates are high. With Black Friday falling on a pay day weekend, consumers can benefit from transferring funds to their Standard Bank credit card and using their credit card to make purchases thus benefitting from additional rewards and the up to 55-day interest free period.

Ramugondo is available to discuss in further detail expectations for consumer spend and behaviour this Black Friday amid the prevailing tough climate, and how they can best prepare for a safe and responsible shopping weekend. Please don't hesitate to reach out should you wish to secure this opportunity.

A reminder to prioritise safety

As the excitement builds for this year's Black Friday weekend, Standard Bank encourages customers to prioritise their safety during the shopping frenzy. In line with the bank’s commitment to protecting its clients, it reminds everyone to exercise caution, highlighting the importance of safeguarding personal information. “A special note to our clients that we’ll never call requesting a One Time Pin (OTP), CVV number, card expiry date, or digital login credentials over the phone,” Ramugondo concludes.