University of Pretoria’s (UP’s) marketing expert, Professor Melanie Wiese, advised consumers to shop smarter during the recent highly anticipated Black Friday.
Known as the biggest shopping frenzy of the year, Black Friday 2021 was no different, despite COVID-19. This year, various experts weighed in on the retail practice with many warning consumers against getting swept up in the money-saving madness. Prof Wiese, a consumer behaviour expert in UP’s Department of Marketing Management, joined in the commentary as she shared her expert knowledge and tips on Power FM and e-NCA on 23 November 2021 – a few days before Black Friday.
She predicted that, due to safety precautions and increased consumer digital savviness, the expected foot traffic in stores will be relatively low, seeing an increase in online shopping. Prof Wiese indicated that retailers would use the shopping frenzy to make up for lost sales in the past year. This was seen through the several pre-Black Friday specials, which ran throughout the month of November. There was a gradual increase in specials and deals leading up to Black Friday, despite the country’s ailing economy.
Prof Wiese described two types of consumer groups that would participate in Black Friday. The first group had a significant decrease in disposable income due to COVID-19 and as such, would shop for affordable gifts, essentials, computers, and other electronics. The deals would go a long way to stretch their Rands and meet their needs. The second group was not affected by the pandemic and even managed to save some money due to reduced spending on transport, clothes, and luxuries such as eating out. This group could take advantage of Black Friday deals and spend their savings on luxury items and holidays.
Sharing her Black Friday survival tips, Prof Wiese advised consumers to do their research, compare prices and stick to a shopping plan. "Do not overspend. Only buy what is on your list. Think carefully before making a purchase. Think about the future, as nobody knows what it holds,” advised Prof Wiese.
As a matter of interest about the changes in consumer behaviour, Prof Wiese stated that some consumers stay loyal to their brands even when their financial circumstances change. However, this is often more prevalent with luxury products and brands. In most instances, consumers become price-sensitive and give up their favorite brands for savings. Furthermore, what is considered luxury also changes. Electronic gadgets were previously considered a luxury, but are now considered a necessity because of the remote working and learning conditions.
Prof Wiese recently delivered her inaugural lecture, entitled ‘Consumer choice in an ever-changing landscape’. Click here to watch the lecture.