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Black Friday is what happens when the dangerous mixture of anxiety and excitement are blended in a retail test tube. Although we might think that we know what is going to happen, the result is almost never as predictable as we would like it to be; with the risk that it might all blow up always a possibility. Each year in the build-up to the day, both consumers and suppliers deal with the fact that things can go horribly wrong.
With the Black Friday shopping frenzy around the corner, the digital economy this year is expected to receive an enormous boost as many people will want to avoid crowds and take their shopping online. After a difficult year marked by severe disruptions and decreased demand, businesses will also be relying on this period to make up for losses due to the pandemic.
Over the past five years, Black Friday and Cyber Monday has become big business in South Africa. And we are not talking about standing in insanely long queues for toilet paper; while South Africa has not embraced the same type of discounts that the US does when Black Friday officially opens the festive shopping season, South Africans are always up for a deal and want to be first in line to take advantage of this.
The Black Friday sales frenzy can trigger our deepest emotional and cognitive responses and can lead us down a path of unnecessary spending. However, consumers can use insights from behavioural economics to empower them to make decisions that align with their individual financial goals.