Retailers brace for busy shopping season as Black Friday nears

Black Friday is the biggest shopping day of the year


Somshankar Bandyopadhyay

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According to GfK data, the UAE witnessed a 6.9% year on year growth during the Black Friday sale in 2022. Photo for illustrative purposes only. — File photo
According to GfK data, the UAE witnessed a 6.9% year on year growth during the Black Friday sale in 2022. Photo for illustrative purposes only. — File photo

Published: Mon 6 Nov 2023, 9:00 AM

As the temperatures drop, retailers across the UAE are gearing up for the festive season, which is one of the busiest periods of the year in terms of sales volume. Black Friday is the biggest shopping day of the year, and it’s a great time to find deals on all sorts of consumer goods.

All the major retailers and manufacturers have a golden opportunity to capture revenue growth considering we will be entering the festive season starting with the Indian festival, Diwali. “Retailers create a whole season starting with Singles Day, Cyber Monday with killer deals and price laddering planning to provide the best deals and discounts on the main “Friday” sale day. Intensive marketing, personalised offers, creating time sensitive flash sales and offers are some strategies used to increase traffic during this period,” Hakim Amar, T&D Regional Retail Partner Leader, EEMEA, GfK, an NIQ Company, told Khaleej Times.

According to GfK data, the UAE witnessed a 6.9% year on year growth during the Black Friday sale in 2022.

“Most of the brands especially in the area of consumer tech goods, almost all retailers will be offering corresponding discount promotions which sometimes last for one to two weeks. Price reductions are often used to buy a model with more features than usual,” Amar added.

Excerpts from an interview:

With the ever-evolving consumer preferences and demands, how are retailers and marketers adapting to meet the demands of consumers during the Black Friday sales season?

Black Friday Sale is listed in the global retail calendars. The search for simplicity, reducing the sheer volume of items on promotion is a real benefit for busy shoppers, helping them find the quality branded items they aspire to during the sale period.

The key to success will be to counter consumer demand with the right premium products. If this happens within a manageable framework of honest offers, consumers will easily come to a purchase decision this year.

However, with ongoing economic volatility, the brands will need to be agile and ready to pivot to address unpredictable consumer demand, especially with the latest global launches.

Could you share insights into the consumer buying patterns during Black Friday, especially in terms of online and offline shopping? Are there any notable shifts or emerging trends in this area?

Rather than seeing digital as a one-stop shop, consumers are enjoying an omnichannel shopping experience that blends digital with traditional brick-and-mortar retailers to create a new kind of purchase journey.

Consumers have been favouring an omnichannel shopping experience for large ticket items and durables for a while already. Any difference between internet usage for price comparison and actual purchases suggests that there is a continuing role for the shopping mall alongside the virtual store.

An increase in the incidence of online research, where consumers browse online before going in-store to purchase, further underlines the important balance that exists between the online and offline retail environments.

Many brands aim to attract and retain customers during Black Friday by offering attractive promotions. Could you elaborate on how brands create and execute these promotions to cater to both loyal customers and those who are searching for the best deals?

I would suggest all the brands can take to provide reassurance to consumers as they transition from offline to online which includes:

Making the product tangible through virtual product tours, virtual shopping, unboxing videos, and other techniques where human touch is visible

Brands should offer complete transparency on product availability and by letting consumers choose the payment app or brand they trust to pay.

Retailers should also ensure there is no friction or extra cost involved in order collections and deliveries.

Hakim Amar, T&D Regional Retail Partner Leader, EEMEA, GfK
Hakim Amar, T&D Regional Retail Partner Leader, EEMEA, GfK

Exclusive offers for loyalty card holders would help retain existing customers and flash sale, limited time offers, additional coupons and bank offers would attract customers seeking the best deals.

As per GfK’s latest Consumer Life Study, we have learned that women consumers in Saudi Arabia are ‘traditional’ yet aspiring to ‘play’ an active role in society. 68% of Saudi consumers are watchful’ about companies’ green motivations as Sustainability plays an increased role in purchase decisions.

Some other learnings were —

Saudi Women are in anchor roles hence brands need to embrace inclusivity & and integrate women’s stories into their brand campaigns and strategies

By partnering with leisure and entertainment players, there is a huge potential in the ‘experience’ space – an opportunity to re-vamp loyalty & and rewards programs

Considering that the Black Friday sale marks the beginning of the festive season in December, how can brands effectively leverage this opportunity to create targeted promotional strategies that resonate with their target audience?

The ‘golden quarter’ is here. From Diwali, Black Friday to Christmas the coming months represent a major opportunity for both brands and retailers in the Consumer Technology and Durables sector to trigger volume sales.

The first step is to rethink consumer profiles in light of the current climate and tailor a promotions strategy accordingly.

Black Friday season suggest there is still opportunity for brands and retailers to benefit from the premiumisation trend by offering the right portfolio of products, tapping into higher margins during a challenging period.

Brands can use digital tools to craft a promotions strategy that generates excitement. They can elevate omnichannel strategies, leveraging next-gen digital tools to build up anticipation and demand ahead of key promotional events.

This coming ‘golden quarter’ is an opportunity that no brand or retailer can afford to miss. With the right promotions strategies in place, underpinned by the latest data and insights, decision makers can use this period to deliver tailored promotions, across targeted product mixes, and generate maximum sales uplift in the process.

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