When America’s President Abraham Lincoln, in 1863, proclaimed a national day of “Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens”, he never could have seen a Black Friday coming. The US national holiday has become popular worldwide but it is not because of its significance, it is because of the promotional sales that follow every thanksgiving day — last Thursday of November.
As consumerism evolved as the world’s new religion, the Friday following Thanksgiving became popular globally, and today, in most parts of the world, shoppers save towards the mega sales that come on the last Friday in November. In the United States, it has been the busiest shopping day of the year since 2005 with the $50.9 billion expended during the 4-day Black Friday weekend in 2014, the lowest since the 2008 recession.
For lack of adequate retail infrastructure in several African countries, most Black Friday sales on the continent happen online. Several online retailers are leveraging on the growth of Africa’s middle class armed with more disposable income. Online retailers record the most traffic in a single day on days like this.
The two biggest online stores in Nigeria, Konga and Jumia offer great deals everyone should check out. But you may want to compare some deals; you may find out they are much cheaper at a particular store. For example, the Binatone Standing Fan VS 1655 sells at N5,200 ($26) on Jumia but the same product sells at N6,400 ($32) on Konga. Also, a 32-inch LED TV that sells at N39,500 ($198) on Konga costs N45,500 ($228) on Jumia. To be a smart shopper, you may want to compare prices. There are also other online retailers offering mega deals — up to 70 percent off — that you should check out.
Jumia’s store in Kenya recorded a 900 percent increase in sales last year following the November 28, 2014 Black Friday. Several online stores in Kenya are now offering Black Friday deals as well.
In South Africa, where the shopping culture is advanced than in most parts of Africa, shoppers don’t just visit the brick and mortar retail outlets, they also go online. Liveissavage makes a list of online stores in South Africa offering Black Friday deals.
As Black Friday heralds the Christmas shopping season, millions of people across Africa are online, trying to snap up good deals but so are others with more sinister ambitions. Fake websites might already have been created to lure unsuspecting shoppers in with deals of well-known, high-end brands. Stick to the retailers you know and trust. Several online scams are focused on today, so be careful. Do not jump on deals that look too good to be true (like a brand new iPhone 6 for N30,000 ($151)).
You should also screen websites for spelling mistakes or poor images, which may indicate a hastily created website and check to be sure the URL is legitimately from the known retailer’s website (there is no konga.com.ng).Beware of clicking links in emails as these could send you directly to a scam site.
Also, you’d be safer with an up-to-date firewall on your computer.
Avoid shared Wi-Fi zones as they may not be secure, and ensure the payment page on your retailer’s website starts with HTTPS, which is a protocol for secure communication.
If you are still scared, choose the pay on delivery option where applicable.
After all is said and done, this period is gradually becoming more about Black Friday and the great deals than about giving thanks, especially for those who have adopted the pract worldwide.
However, there is a great history behind Thanksgiving and that’s why real Americans still celebrate it, even sometimes more than Christmas.