The Power of Promotions: Maximise Brand Awareness this Black Friday and Beyond.

what to expect this black friday and the peak beyond

What can we expect from this year’s peak trading season, and how do brands looking to maximise reach, brand awareness and sales this Black Friday and beyond, appeal to price-sensitive consumers? 


Key Takeaways

  1. Peak Trade is expected to improve on last year’s performance but still fall short of 2019’s figures.
  2. Spend on FMCG necessities and staples is likely to remain high.
  3. Online-only Retailers will capture just 16-20% of Peak trade promotion sales.
  4. Brand loyalty is ripe for disruption among price-sensitive consumers.
  5. Local retail giants are evolving to meet changing consumer behaviour and demands.

Between inflation, interest rates, fuel price hikes and unemployment, South African consumers – already battered by the Pandemic – face considerable pressure. And the global economic outlook doesn’t suggest respite. Consumers are spending more and getting less. They are responding by voting with their Rands for perceived value for money. 


Retailers and brands will have to find innovative and meaningful ways to remain relevant in these uncertain and challenging times. Events like Black Friday, Cyber Monday and Festive Season Specials are a real opportunity to use promotional marketing, experiential marketing and activations to appeal to value-driven consumer sentiments.



1. What Brands Stand to Gain.

Black Friday was introduced to South Africa in 2014 and the shopping festival effectively extended the ‘peak’ bumper trade season by some 4 weeks. It had the desired effect, netting R15,4bn in 2019. In these heady days of Black Friday frenzy, luxury and slow moving consumer goods – including electronics – were the order of the day. Spend on necessities retracted or stagnated.

But, along came COVID-19 and in 2020 Black Friday spending fell to R10,2bn – despite a record 26 day long shopping festival. In 2021, it’s estimated that spend recovered somewhat to R11,7bn, still a far cry from 2020’s peak.


It wasn’t just spend that changed. Large-scale job losses, low income growth, and forgone bonuses meant that 2020’s Black Friday shoppers increased spend on necessities, with an estimated 54% at general dealers. 


Although lock down seems a distant memory and consumers are largely back in-store and mask-less, they remain financially constrained and price-sensitive. While this does make for an increasingly competitive market, it also means consumers are open to persuasion by brands who can demonstrate value.


And particularly during Peak Season, when footfalls in-store and out-of-home are at their highest, promotions, experiential marketing and activations provide a powerful mechanism to engage consumers on route to and at the point of purchase. Indeed, Capital Connect and BMR predict that in-store, hybrid (multi-channel) and omni-channel retail will continue to win the vast majority of sales, while online-only retailers will capture about 16-20% of Black Friday-related sales over November.

2. An Opportunity to Disrupt and Increase Brand Awareness through In-store Promotions. 

Economic pressure and changing consumer behaviour are a double-edged sword. It has the potential to disrupt market share for complacent brands who have long enjoyed market equity and consumer loyalty.


For the bold, this is an opportunity to demonstrate value (including, but extending beyond, price) to win consideration.

Leveraging constrained consumer proclivity to buy bulk promotions shouldn’t be discounted as an opportunity to entrench brand loyalty in the households and communities where these products are consumed over time.


For brands and retailers, it’s never been more important to deliver excellent customer experiences alongside competitive prices and value.


The winners will succeed in delivering an omnichannel experience to consumers where they act, transact and engage – be that online, in malls, in the informal sector, or – more likely – a combination. It will require data-led personalisation, marrying physical and digital experiences and building strong partner relationships.

3. The Race is on: How Local Retailers are responding with hybrid, omnichannel experiential marketing.

In May 2022, retailer Pick n’ Pay announced the launch of ‘Project Red’ – a new store format aimed at the middle-market and competing against stores like Checkers and Spar.


This on the back of identifying three key market segments with varied needs and priorities – less affluent, middle market, and more affluent.


This approach is already yielding results. A trading update for the 18 weeks ending July 2022 confirmed that the first 5 Project Red stores delivered 18% growth since the store upgrades.


Retailer Woolworths, whose customers are largely in upper LSM segments, expects shopping to become increasingly digital and is leveraging less traditional platforms such as Tiktok and Instagram to engage with shoppers.


The importance of marrying digital and physical is evident in Woolworths’ trial of ‘phygital’ strategies that integrate social platforms with physical outlets.


Shoprite meanwhile, has established ShoriteX, a subdivision dedicated entirely to new shopping technologies. But they’ve not neglected the physical.


The group refurbished many stores in recent years to cater for upper LSM shoppers and this has seen them steal market share from competitors, Woolworths and Pick n Pay.


And, at the end of 2021, the group announced that it was trialing Checkers Rush – an automated, cashless “no queues, no checkout, no waiting” concept store.

Image by prostooleh on Freepik


Between the Pandemic and socioeconomic pressures, buyer behaviour has changed and continues to evolve. While many South African’s have returned to malls, they do so less frequently and, in an attempt to get more bang for their buck, are more price-sensitive than brand-loyal. For brands who manage to meet consumers where they are – by delivering value at the point of action and transaction, there exists a real opportunity to capture market share and maximise brand awareness.


This means a holistic, hybrid, omnichannel marketing strategy that delivers on and indeed exceeds consumer expectations. At Tradeway we specialise in Trade Marketing activities geared to deliver not only awareness and influence, but real reach, engagement and sales – in-store and out-of-home. We specialise in Brand Activations, Events, Promotional Marketing and Field Services and can deliver on all of your Below-the-Line requirements.


Learn how to Maximise Reach and WIN Customers this Peak and Beyond!

Previous Blog Posts

Previous Blog Posts

How can we help you?