Monday,23 October, 2017
Current issue | Issue 1273, (3 - 9 December 2015)
Monday,23 October, 2017
Issue 1273, (3 - 9 December 2015)

Ahram Weekly

Egypt’s Black Friday

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Al-Ahram Weekly

STREET congestions, long queues at retail stores and shopping malls, cheaper products and an online shopping spree — all came together for the first time in Egypt on Friday, reports Ahmed Qotb.

Retail stores inside Egypt’s biggest shopping malls, and e-commerce websites, attracted massive numbers of shoppers during the weekend by offering discounts of up to 70 per cent on some items, mainly electronics and clothes.

Some stores in shopping malls like Mall of Arabia, City Stars and Carrefour enticed consumers to buy one item and get another for free, while others offered a free item on every two products sold. Offers also included a 50 per cent discount on any product after reaching LE2,000 of purchases.

Black Friday originated in the US and has been taking place every year for decades on the day after Thanksgiving when most products become much cheaper for one day, making it more affordable to buy Christmas presents and making all the dreams of owning various things come true. The idea has become growingly popular in many countries around the world.

In Egypt, attempting to replicate Black Friday’s hype and soaring sales with the introduction of special deals on certain products began last year by online shopping websites, and it succeeded to attract as many as five times the usual number of online shoppers last Friday.

“The key was in successful marketing of the deals on social media weeks before the Black Friday event,” said Omar Soudodi, general director of PayFort, a payment service provider for online shopping sites, and former general manager of Souq.com Egypt. The latter operates in several countries in the region and calls it White Friday, but made it a four-day event, from 25 to 28 November. The most sold items on Souq.com, according to Soudodi, included mobile phones, watches and perfumes.

Jumia.com is the second biggest online shopping website along with Souq.com but it decided to stick to the original name and made it a one-day Black Friday. Despite not disclosing information about the exact number of products sold during the shopping event, Soudodi said that at least five times more customers visited the e-commerce sites on Friday alone.

The interest showed in the event by large numbers of users of social media websites like Facebook, measured by the number of people participating and sharing the announcement of the Black Friday or White Friday deals, encouraged other retail stores, especially clothing stores in shopping malls to announce special discounts and deals. “Several stores inside Mall of Arabia were full of customers, and there were long queues at the cashiers,” said Azza Abdel-Aziz, a mother of a 13-year-old girl who went shopping on Friday. There were serious deals this time that everyone wanted to benefit from, she said.

“Thanks to White Friday I got the latest iPhone,” said Ramzi Adel, a 22-year-old student, who added that he would not have bought the smart phone any time soon if it weren’t for the four-day offer that saw cutting LE1,000 off of the LE6,500 phone. Adel added that his friends used the opportunity to buy smart phones and winter clothes, especially that prices went up significantly this year. “I definitely hope the event is repeated every year, with more deals and price cuts on more products, just like in the US and other Western countries,” Adel said.

However, not all stores offered deals for the Black Friday event in Egypt, especially outside shopping malls. “We are still at the beginning of the winter season and discounts will not be profitable at this time,” said Mahmoud Al-Daour, head of the garments division at Cairo Chamber of Commerce. But, he added, it was a good idea to create mobility in the market.

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