South Africa Black Friday Study 2019Black Friday originated as an American shopping holiday, held the day after Thanksgiving to indicate the start of the holiday shopping season, which has recently grown in popularity outside the US. Today, 50-60% of the world’s countries run Black Friday sale events, yet the levels of excitement and participation vary from one country to another. For about ten years now, South African retailers have been hosting and, within that time, South African consumers have quickly gained more interest in catching deals than consumers in other countries in Africa.

Due to the strong interest and participation in Black Friday sale events seen in South Africa in years past, GeoPoll conducted a study on topics surrounding Black Friday to gather data on consumers’ perceptions, engagement, and purchases through the sales events. In this report, we will present the data collected in this study, which was run immediately following Black Friday 2019, and compare the findings to related GeoPoll studies from years past.

Black Friday Study Methodology

Black Friday was on November 29th, 2019, and GeoPoll’s study on Black Friday ran through Mobile Web from November 30th to December 1st, 2019. A screener question was used to ensure all study participants were aware of Black Friday. There were 400 South African respondents that passed through the screener question and completed the survey. These respondents had a nationally representative location distribution, had a 50/50 gender split, and were all 15 years old or older.

In this post, we will compare results from the 2019 GeoPoll study with other GeoPoll studies on the same topic from 2017 and 2018.  Accurate year over year comparisons can be made between all three studies due to identical question wording used across studies and similar samples of respondents for each. For additional information on the methodologies and demographic information from these studies, contact us here.

Black Friday in South Africa

Black Friday Popularity in South AfricaSouth Africa Black Friday

Data from this year’s study on Black Friday shopping revealed that there has been a 16% increase in reported shopping from 2017 to 2019: 76% of respondents in 2019 indicated shopping on Black Friday this year, while 64% in 2018 and 60% in 2017 indicated the same. This shows that despite South Africa’s stagnant economy, consumers are still willing to spend money; on the other hand, the economic flatline could be further encouraging a hunt for deals before the holiday season.

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Regardless of the reason for the increase, it is undeniable that there are more South African shoppers engaging in Black Friday sales events year over year. In 2018 and 2019, respondents were asked if they had shopped on Black Friday in years past. In 2018, 72% of respondents indicated shopping in years past, while 84% indicated the same in 2019—which is a 12% increase.

Black November in South Africa

Black November South Africa 2019Beyond the increase in shoppers participating, the Black Friday sales events themselves are growing as well. Black November is a term that has emerged to describe the phenomenon of retailers starting their Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales earlier each year. According to PwC, “retailers are extending their Black Friday offerings to a week or more leading up to the day and the days thereafter, including the ensuring weekend leading up to Cyber Monday.”

This year our study asked respondents about their Black November shopping. Respondents who participated in 2019’s Black Friday were asked if they shopped any Black Friday sales that ran before November 29th; 78% of respondents indicated that they had, which shows that Black November sales were highly popular for both retailers and shoppers in 2019.

Items Purchased on Black Friday

Items Purchased Black Friday South Africa 2019

In 2018 and 2019, respondents were asked identical select all that apply questions: “Which of the following items did you purchase during Black Friday this year? 1) household appliances 2) beauty accessories 3) clothing and footwear 4) electronics and accessories 5) food items 6) baby items 7) other.” From 2018 to 2019, all of the categories except for clothing and footwear had an increase in reported purchases. Most notably, beauty accessories saw a 15% increase, electronics and accessories increased by 13%, and food items increased by 16%. Keeping in mind that clothing and footwear only saw a 2% decrease and that this was a select all that apply style question, the data comparison from 2018 to 2019 shows that people are buying a more diverse selection of items during Black Friday sales overall.

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Shopping Location

Black November South Africa 2019

This year’s study asked respondents about the location of their Black Friday shopping to determine if shoppers were shopping more in-store, online, or a combination of the two. Results showed that the vast majority of Black Friday shoppers, 67%, shopped in stores only. A much smaller group of shoppers, 23%, indicated shopping both in-store and online, and only 11% of shoppers indicated shopping online only. Data also showed that 4% more men than women reported shopping exclusively in-store, 6% more women than men reported shopping both in-store and online, and the same number of men and women reported shopping exclusively online. The affinity for in-store shopping is likely due to poor user experience in online shopping in South Africa, which we explore further in the following sub-section.

Online Shopping South Africa 2019


Online shopping issues in South Africa

Respondents that had indicated shopping online in any capacity were asked a follow-up question about their user experience, “While online

Online Shopping issues Black Friday

shopping on Black Friday this year, did you experience any issues with webpages that negatively impacted your shopping experience?” 37% of the online shoppers reported that they did encounter issues while online shopping the Black Friday sales. The respondents with technical issues were concentrated in Northern Cape (50% of respondents in this location had issues), Gauteng (45%), and Limpopo (44%). Although the majority of online shopper respondents did not have technical issues, 37% is a significant portion of consumers to be negatively impacted by the online shopping platforms. In order for online shopping to gain more significant popularity in Black Friday sales events, the rate of users experiencing issues needs to decrease in the years to come.

Cyber Monday

Cyber Monday is an online shopping sale event used by retailers as a continuation of the Black Friday sale events. To determine Cyber Monday’s popularity in relation to Black Friday, all respondents were asked if they were aware of the shopping holiday. We found that 63% of respondents were aware of Cyber Monday, compared to 100% of respondents that were aware of Black Friday.

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Out of the 63% of respondents aware of Cyber Monday, 65% had shopped Cyber Monday sales in years past. The highest rates were in KwaZulu Natal (76% of respondents in this location had shopped Cyber Monday in the past) and Mpumalanga (72%). Additionally, 6% more males than females indicated shopping Cyber Monday sales in years past.

Cyber Monday South Africa 2019

This year, more males than females also plan to shop Cyber Monday sales. 81% of Cyber Monday aware males plan to shop on the holiday compared to 71% of aware females, which comes out to 10% more males than indicated planning to shop on Cyber Monday than females and a 76% average for all respondents.

Assuming those who indicated planning to shop on Cyber Monday followed through, participation in the sales events would see an 11% increase in 2019 over participation in years past and a 4% increase in male participation in 2019 over years past.


South Africans are interested and engaged with holiday shopping sales in November and December—whether the sales are promoted as early Black Friday sales, Black Friday sales, or Cyber Monday sales. Despite the growth in sales around Black Friday, regularly timed Black Friday sales are still the most popular time to shop. Additionally, the participation in Black Friday shopping is increasing rapidly year over year and even a flat economy in South Africa did not hinder the growth in shopping rates. In years to come, GeoPoll anticipates the growth momentum to carry over to even higher engagement rates in 2020.

In preparation for a busy 2020 holiday shopping season, GeoPoll can help your organization conduct a study of your own. Our team of research experts is a valuable resource for any consumer behavior evaluation study. To learn more about how GeoPoll can help your organization achieve your research goals, contact us today.