Black Friday could hit Christmas trade, but Maltese businesses saw increase in sales

While some costumers wait for Black Friday sales to buy necessities, many are unable to resist a good bargain and end up buying more things than they planned to on the day

A survey conducted by small business chamber GRTU on Black Friday sales, found a significant increase in businesses participating in the cut-price shopping bonanza.

35% of respondents said it was their first year participating. While 46% said their sales were practically on the same lines as last year’s, 45% said that they did better and 9% classified it as “much better”.

Although Black Friday this year fell on 24 November – usually held a day after thanksgiving in the USA – 40% said they had extended their initiative to cover all the weekend up until Sunday. Very few extended further to after the weekend for what is known as Cyber Monday, a further of cuts.

The GRTU however said that Black Friday is having a negative effect on Christmas shopping.

“Black Friday results in a shift in consumption, and the days preceding and following it are then extremely slow, holding a negative effect on Christmas shopping.”

GRTU also reported negative effects with traffic congestion creating gridlock that lasted hours, and businesses finding it difficult to find staff to cater for the increases business.

“Other respondents felt that whilst there might be a displacement in the spending pattern, they also felt that the consumer ends up spending more overall, even when calculating sales covering the whole festive season.”

When asked to compare sales during Black Friday as opposed to a normal shopping day, 50% signal an increase of 30%, 17% said an increase by 20% and 7% said an increase by 10%. The same figures featured for the 20% who said that they extended their offers to their online shops.

The rest of the respondents said that they did not experience an increase in sales even though they participated in Black Friday and some even said they experienced lower sales.

GRTU attributed this to respondents whose businesses were not typically associated with Black Friday, or whose outlets were outside shopping strongholds.

GRTU said the clothing and apparel, and wellness and beauty sectors were among the main Black Friday participants, especially in shopping locations like Sliema, Valletta, Paola and also Gozo. However other businesses selling household products, car rentals and sales, supermarkets, opticians, the tourism sector, sporting and hobbies also took up the initiative.

Use of social media advertisement through Facebook was very strong and the absolute majority of respondents said this effort was effective.

24% of respondents who felt Black Friday was not relevant to their industry however said they might consider participating next year and 8% said they will certainly do so.

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