There is no better time to bag a good shopping deal than on Black Friday. Every Friday throughout November is Black Friday in Egypt, giving shoppers at stores and online the opportunity to buy items they have been eagerly eyeing all year round at discounts of up to 50 or even 70 per cent.
The Egyptian consumer market has recently been suffering from stagnation, and Black Friday has come in to save the day, said Sherif Yehia, head of the Footwear Division at the Egyptian Federation of Commerce. He said that 80 per cent of stores are offering Black Friday discounts.
Some stores are displaying goods on sale throughout November, while others have opted to offer deals from 21 November, he added.
Sama Mahmoud, a Cairo teacher, is excited about this year’s Black Friday. “Last year, I bought a jacket for myself and two for my children for the price of two. It was a good deal,” she said, adding that Black Friday offers were particularly good value for families with more than one child.
“Electronic devices are on sale as well,” Mahmoud said, citing one website selling smart phones at half price. They were good quality goods, she said, explaining why people were flocking to buy them.
According to 2018 research by Black-Friday Global Analytics, a website, 30 per cent of Egyptian shoppers know what they want to buy on Black Friday. Statistics from recent years indicate that the five most-purchased categories include clothing, shoes, cosmetics, perfumes, electronics, and gifts, it said, indicating that on average each person purchases four items.
It said that people choose more than one store for shopping on Black Friday and are willing to spend around LE3,600 ($71). In contrast, consumers in the US typically spend close to $500.
On Black Fridays throughout November, Egypt’s malls are chock-a-block with people, with almost all stores offering discounts and catering for all age and economic brackets.
Heba Al-Kholi, a Cairo civil servant, has been buying household appliances at a discount of LE600. “The majority of stores offer real discounts, but others offer goods at a higher price before the sale season and then sell them for their real price on Black Friday,” she said.
Black Friday sees an increase in sales by online stores as well as physical ones. The Noon website, which sells consumer goods, has announced discounts in Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and the UAE that will run from 20 to 28 November with prices slashed by up to 80 per cent.
Jumia, another online marketplace, is extending its discounts from 5 to 30 November.
Its Black Friday sales have increased 2,000-fold since the business started eight years ago, said Hisham Safwat, chief commercial officer of Jumia. The e-commerce platform has more than 40,000 sellers, he said, adding that online sales have surged since the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Black Fridays serve the needs of consumers and shake off stagnation from the market, he said, pointing out that well-known e-platforms with credibility among consumers are making the highest sales.
The Black Friday platform said that internal data for 2018 showed a 985 per cent increase in sales during Black Friday in Egypt compared to a normal day.
Such large numbers are not uncommon. In the UK, growth in sales was up 1,708 per cent on Black Friday, while in Germany the figure was more than 2,418 per cent. In Singapore, it was 511 per cent, it said.
*A version of this article appears in print in the 25 November, 2021 edition of Al-Ahram Weekly.