Black Friday smiled on South African small businesses as card transaction volume jumped by 46 percent compared with the average volume processed on a Friday after pay day, according to the latest report by Yoco, the provider of card payment machines for small business.
Yoco co-founder and chief executive Katlego Maphai said this week that in the build-up to Black Friday this year, a number of small business owners had voiced sentiments that this day remains effective primarily for big retailers.

Maphai said the question of how relevant seasonal and promotional periods like Black Friday were for small businesses found its answer in the numbers Yoco recorded over the month of November.

“In addition to the increase seen in overall volume on Black Friday, small businesses experienced significant surges of more than 40 percent in turnover across Saturday and Sunday on Black Friday weekend when compared to a standard end-of-month weekend,” said Maphai.

Maphai said this suggested that when compared to the average volumes that small businesses would expect to see over a weekend, Black Friday weekend was a prolific opportunity to grow, especially in retail.

“In fact, in-store transactions for retail businesses saw an unexpected 35 percent year-on-year growth compared to 2019, against a total growth of 15 percent for all Yoco merchants, who traded across both years,” Maphai said.

On the contrary, clearing house BankservAfrica on Saturday revealed in a report that Black Friday was subdued with total in store card purchases down 30 percent from 2019. The BankservAfrica report showed that online sales had continued on its growth trajectory up 62 percent on 2019 figures.

Maphai said the finding seemed to suggest a shift in shopper behaviour as consumers chose to shop at small, independent businesses – both as a show of support as well as an attempt to avoid large crowds or minimise shopping time in malls.

“The takeaway from Black Friday 2020 is that small businesses not only have an opportunity to take advantage of promotional opportunities alongside big businesses, but that they are increasingly front of mind for South African shoppers who want to support locals,” Maphai said.

Maphai also said that business owners made efforts to promote responsible in-store shopping to reduce the potential for superspreader events.

These included the decision by brick and mortar stores to spread promotions and specials across a number of days or weeks in order to “flatten the curve of Black Friday traffic”, which resulted in higher than average daily turnover figures across the entire week preceding Black Friday.