Monday,18 December, 2017
Current issue | Issue 1371, (30 November - 6 December 2017)
Monday,18 December, 2017
Issue 1371, (30 November - 6 December 2017)

Ahram Weekly

Less shopping this year

Black Friday
Black Friday

THIS YEAR’s Black Friday shopping promotions saw fewer takers than in previous years. Owing to the weaker purchasing power of the Egyptian pound, there was less enthusiasm for Black Friday discounts this year, writes Nesma Nowar.  During the annual event that ran from 22 to 25 November, retail stores across Egypt, in addition to e-commerce websites, offered discounts on various products ranging from 10 to 70 per cent.

Some stores in Cairo shopping malls like Mall of Arabia, City Stars and Carrefour aimed to attract consumers by offering them the chance to buy one item and get another free, while others offered a free item on every two products sold.

Online platforms also offered discounts on a wide range of products, including mobile phones, TV screens, laptops, tablets, watches and home appliances.

Although many people scrambled to the stores to benefit from the promotions, causing congestion and long queues at retail stores and shopping malls, purchases were fewer this year.

One salesman in a store in the Mohandessin district of Cairo said that the turnout this year had been below average compared to previous years. “Even the crowds who visited this year did not buy with the same intensity as in previous years,” he said.

He attributed this to people’s changing priorities. “Amid the surge in prices, people are focusing more on priorities, mainly food and basic needs,” he said.

Last year’s floatation of the Egyptian pound has taken its toll on the purchasing power of many people. The floatation, which halved the value of the local currency, has pushed prices up across the board.

Inflation peaked to a record high in July, reaching 33 per cent, but started to drop slightly afterwards, standing at 31.8 per cent in October.

“The problem is that prices before the discounts were very high, so when products are offered on sale the prices are still unaffordable to many,” Menna Tawfik, 25, said.

Tawfik, who had gone shopping in one of Cairo’s malls, said that prices, especially for winter clothes, were still high. She added that some of the products on offer were also not in good condition.

However, the mall had been packed with people looking to benefit from the promotions, Tawfik said.

Many consumers were wary of what they called “fake” discounts. Tawfik said that some shops had raised the original prices of products so that when they offered discounts they could sell them at their real initial prices. The shops have repeatedly denied doing so.

Black Friday originated in the United States, where it has been taking place every year for decades on the day after the US Thanksgiving holiday when many products become much cheaper for one day, making it more affordable to buy Christmas presents. The idea has become popular in many other countries around the world.

Attempts to replicate Black Friday’s hype and soaring sales in Egypt came with the introduction of special deals on certain products in 2014 by online shopping websites, and the custom has happened annually since then.

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