Everything you really should know about Black Friday and Cyber Monday

My Money Matters | Written by Annie Kolatsis

20 November 2018

It’s been four years since Black Friday and Cyber Monday made their mark on South Africa’s retail landscape, with the sales phenomenon showing no indication of slowing down. In 2017, 54% of South Africans shopped over the period – and it’s is expected to rise to 66% according to data released by global promotion code website Picodi.com. Their research also illustrates that, over the last five years, South Africa has shown the highest growth in interest in Black Friday with a whopping figure of 9900%. It’s safe to say that this yearly shopping spectacle is here to stay – but does it live up to the hype?

Retailers’ Black Friday and Cyber Monday winning strategies

You can be sure that there’s no lack of strategic thinking done by retailers when it comes to Black Friday and Cyber Monday. In fact, if you’re not equally smart about your purchasing, your spree may not be as successful as you hoped.

While retailers are good at keeping their sales tactics under wraps, there are a few things to be aware of during this period:

Read the Ts&Cs

Particularly when it comes to stores that already offer price matching, like Game. A quick glance at their Ts&Cs shows that their offer to ‘beat any price’ does not apply on one day sales like Black Friday and Cyber Monday.

Daily Deals

Another strategy used to keep you spending constantly is adding new deals, some of which are on offer for a limited time. Chief Marketing Offer at Takealot, Julie Walsh, notes that the retailer will be adding “hundreds of new deals over the five day period” as a way to provide shoppers with multiple opportunities to buy new products. This may seem exciting, but have you considered the implications on your wallet? If you were shown all the offers together, there’s likely to be some purchasing hesitation. What better way to combat that hesitation than to make you split one big purchase into multiple small ones over a longer period. Smart, right?

Online vs. In-store Offers

They can and do differ. Paul van de Wall, head of e-commerce at Makro, mentions that while you will be able to find the majority of offers across their online site and in store, there are “products that are online only and some that are in store only.” That probably sounds like great news. Just keep in mind that this strategy is to get you to do the most important thing that retailers want you to do on Black Friday and Cyber Monday – spend.

The right price

Have you done your homework and kept a pricing record of the goods you want? Independent investment analyst, Chris Gilmour, notes that in South Africa there’s no legislation that states retailers must show what the price of a product has been for the last three months or what the price is currently. This means that retailers can mark an item as ‘on sale’, when compared to its historic and current price, it’s probably not.

Loss leaders

If you’ve been at a sale and purchased regular priced items, the odds are that you’ve been drawn in by a loss leader pricing strategy. This is when a product is sold below its market price and Gilmour posits that this is “to get people into the store and, once they’re there, to get them to buy as much as possible of something, at prices that are the same as what they’ve always been.” He heeds for consumers to approach days like Black Friday with caution, “caveat emptor – buyer beware.”

What can you expect from retailers this Black Friday and Cyber Monday?

Black Friday and Cyber Monday are the Olympics of the retail world and companies spend months planning, testing and perfecting their systems to win big. “There’s lots of different elements, some of them start [preparation] as early as the beginning of the year,” Van de Waal explains.

This year, Makro’s implementing a series of innovations to handle the volumes of Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales. Thanks to a new system, customers can now pay for their purchases while standing in queue and the new online drive-thru service at its flagship Riversands store will allows customers to collect their online orders.

Other big players like Pick n Pay, Checkers and Clicks will also be throwing their hats into the arena again with various promotions over the period. Find out more about them here.

What can you do to prep for Black Friday and Cyber Monday?

Even if you haven’t been prepping for months, here are a few things you can do to increase your chances of getting good Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals:

  • Be the first – whether in store or online. This is echoed by Van de Waal, “I would advise to log on in the morning when the pricing is going live.”
  • Share the load. Get your friends and family together, share wish lists and divide responsibilities.
  • Plan. Have you decided what you want and compared multiple sites? Are the items waiting in your shopping cart?
  • Check your details. Do you remember your login password? Something as small as this can make you miss out on your purchase.
  • Set a budget. And stick to it. There’s no worse feeling than overspending, especially on days when the chance of you being able to return the product are low.
Get more value with Absa on Black Friday and Cyber Monday.

As part of our goal to get our customers saving more and switching from cash to card, we’ve partnered with some leading retailers to provide Absa Rewards members with the opportunity to earn cash back when swiping in store or online. Check out our list of partners with to see where you can get even more value on Black Friday and Cyber Monday.

Disclaimer: The advice contained on this blog is for general purposes only and does not take into account individual circumstances, objectives or financial needs. Accordingly, readers are advised to seek appropriate advice from licensed professionals prior to making any investment, or taking up a financial product or service.