Black Friday Boosted by Mobile Technology

In the run-up to this past Black Friday, retailers were predicting that it would be one of the busiest on record with mobile marketing being credited for helping to deliver this pre-Christmas sales boost.

Anecdotal evidence suggests that South Africa’s own Black Friday did appear to be extremely busy compared to previous years with much more hype than we’re used to.

Indeed, normally staid local retailers with their historically-mediocre discounts of 10% to 20% really went to town on Friday, 24 November. The Game chain of stores, for one, opened some stores at 12am the Thursday before and this total commitment to the spirit of the Black Friday annual shopping extravaganza went down so well with consumers they broke down the glass doors of the Game store in Cape Town’s Canal Walk.

Things didn’t fare too well with online retailer, Takealot, either with their online shopping platform down for a good number of consecutive hours. News24 described the retailer’s woes as a total “own goal” on what’s become a very important shopping day in South Africa.

But back to the role of mobile this week. The growing importance of mobile in purchasing-based events like Black Friday is supported by figures from Google that show that 70% of customers purchasing in-store used their smart phones for research before the purchase and that mobiles have overtaken desktops and tablets as devices used for e-commerce.

So that’s the encouraging part. Unfortunately, and according to, despite such findings, only 50% of businesses surveyed are currently using even basic mobile tools like SMS marketing as part of their marketing strategies.

Let’s conclude with a brief, very un-marketing-like reference to what Capitec did on Black Friday – this fabulous bank sent out an email to all its customers urging them not to buy things they don’t need with money they don’t have. Brilliant, bold and responsible.

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