Consumers warned ahead of Black Friday spending frenzy

South African consumers have been warned to pay close attention to Black Friday deals and avoid falling prey to clever advertising gimmicks offered by retailers.

Thousands of South Africans are likely to flood shopping malls and online spaces this weekend, wanting to get a slice of the Black Friday pie, ahead of the big day next week.

Many will take out loans and maximise their credit cards so that they don’t miss out on the mayhem. However, as experts warn, many deals being offered by retailers were strategically packaged using intelligent marketing techniques to fool unsuspecting consumers out to save a quick buck

It’s a shopping frenzy that has seen many South Africans buy into the idea that they may actually be saving money.

Black Friday has now turned into a week filled with hysteria and a flurry of activity at malls across the country.

Some larger retails have even offered month-long deals, claiming to save consumers thousands.

After a tough financial year, consumers are being warned to avoid plunging deeper into debt this Black Friday.

CEO of the South African Savings Institute, Gerald Mwandiambia says “Saving on items you would normally buy. We all know how much food prices have gone up. I would try and stock up on food and try to save it for the festive period and holidays. Especially with the rising cost of living, this year you need to shop wisely, especially around food. Another tip is, if you haven’t really saved for it — don’t do it. With more South Africans cash strapped at the moment, it’s not a good idea to splurge on impulse spending because you will definitely regret it.”

Tough economic times

His advice is simple — if you have planned to spend during Black Friday — rather purchase essentials. With that said Mwandiambia warns of tough economic times ahead.

“If you are an impulse shopper than just enjoys the energy around Black Friday, rather shop for needs, shop for food, school uniform – focus on needs. In terms of the economy, petrol prices are going up significantly in December. We haven’t seen the worse yet in terms of the economy. There are still 6 to 12 months more months where we need to tighten our belts. Interest rates might still go up by 50 to 100 basis points in 2023.”

Monitored online behaviour

Meanwhile, Nazareen Ebrahim, Technology and Communications Specialist at Naz Consulting International warns that our online behaviour is frequently monitored.

“Now the next time I open my Facebook application my timeline is flooded with advertisements featuring baby clothing.”

Ebrahim says social media companies and marketers use your algorithms to track your online behaviour to streamline adverts that match your browser history — hence enticing customers to buy items they not necessarily need.

“It’s a way of how social media companies connected with search engines was pushed to you. Big companies being able to buy that data and social media companies are always under fire. Are they selling user data, that showcases exactly what I do online as a person? The big top-line goal for a company these days is hyper customisation. We go shopping at a certain store, we buy all our products, that becomes a routine and habit. That is now recorded as a digital part of my identity then used to serve me, only those things I may buy or products of a similar nature.”

Consumers are being urged to be on the lookout for deals that sounds far more incredible than they actually are. Clear marketing techniques are used by retailers to hype the fanfare around Black Friday luring unsuspecting consumers. Ebrahim says in an era of accelerated computing power, consumers are lured into making purchases they may or may not need.

“Of course, they want our money so they going to use all the tools at their disposal, which in the nature of retail and technology, these tools are available to them and to us to shop. Are we encouraged to buy, yes? This is an ecosystem that is going to use all the mechanisms it has in the digital space, to be able to give us things that we may or may not need.”

As you count your cash and prepare to hit the supermarkets this weekend, experts are urging you to avoid incurring debt for items you do not need. Make sure you recognise an actual good deal from one that has been packaged to manipulate you into buying items you don’t need.

Comparing consumer spending patterns during Black Friday and Festive Season: Nick French

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Source: SABC News (