15 - 11
By Josephine Wawira
With less than two weeks to the biggest annual sale event, everyone is on their marks for this year’s Black Friday. Celebrated on the 24th of November, the Black Friday sales began in America and are marked the day following Thanksgiving. Over the years, the practice has spread to different parts of the world, with both retailers and consumers taking utmost advantage of the numerous deals offered on millions of products. From offline shops and now to online retailers, the event has become godsend with major outlets opening their doors not only on the actual day but instead, for a longer period to fully maximize profits.
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The shopping frenzy around Black Friday diversifies yearly, and despite originating from the West, Africa is experiencing an impressive uptake. For instance, at the beginning Jumia Group only had the sale on its e-commerce platform selling products ranging from electronics, fashion, to home and living among other categories. Today, the African Unicorn has its other ventures such as Jumia Travel and Jumia Food going beyond the traditional one-day-bonanza to give their customers a shopping experience of the year for a month starting 13th November to 13th December.
With Christmas holidays just around the corner, travelers are already enjoying bargainous deals of up to 70% discounts on hotel accommodation and flights on Jumia Travel. During last year’s Black Friday, this leading online travel agency saw traffic to its website reach +200%, with over 80% increase in bookings. “We have learnt a great deal over the last two years and we intend to make 2017 Black Friday memorable for all our customers. We anticipate more bookings on both hotels and flights, while giving best deals in the one-month period. It is an early Christmas gift to all our customers, enabling them to travel inexpensively as we create a marketing opportunity and boost local tourism,” says Estelle Verdier, Jumia Travel’s COO.
With a population advantage and approximately 345 million internet users in Africa (28% penetration rate), Black Friday is a pool of revenue opportunities for online retailers and service providers. Most hotels will be registering full occupancy from holiday bookers, restaurants receiving full reservations, and airlines recording maximum scheduled and seat capacity. For instance, while ForwardKeys had reported that Nairobi’s airports have a total scheduled capacity (August to December 2017) of 18% in domestic seats, 31% in long-haul international seats, and a 51% capacity in intra-Africa international seats; these numbers are likely to go up with the Black Friday push. It is therefore no surprise that businesses with this understanding are taking the annual sale beyond the single day, to capitalize on the end year spenders.