Last Updated on Thursday, 25 November, 2021 at 9:11 am by Andre Camilleri
Businesses that left it until this month to plan Black Friday, did not invest in an online presence or waited until their competitors had released their offers will be less successful this Black Friday, according to the head of a leading business lobby.
“Things have changed considerably since last year. People expect to know all the offers available in advance and can purchase both online and in-store. Interestingly, we see a shift in retailers promoting better discounts online for the same product than heading in-store to buy the same toaster. This is a trend sweeping all across Europe,” Abigail Agius Mamo, CEO of the Malta Chamber of SMEs, said.
Speaking to The Malta Business Weekly, the extension of Black Friday offers from a weekend to the whole month of November became very popular last year and is undoubtedly here to stay, Mamo explained. “Not only do customers get to avoid long queues in shopping areas and traffic jams, but businesses also begin to yield sale profits throughout the entire month; it’s a business strategy that works well.”
Asked if consumers can expect any shortages of items due to Covid interrupting logistics to the islands or due to Brexit, Mamo noted this should not be the case. “We began advising businesses to prepare for Black Friday as early as February this year. Those that left it late are the ones that might be overlooked this year. Inevitably the pandemic has interrupted supply chains globally. As a result, retailers needed plenty of time to source and import stock” With regards to Brexit, Mamo stated, “I am sure we have all felt the inconvenience of now buying from the UK since Brexit, with added fees and difficulties in returning items. Although it may be considered a negative for the consumer, it’s a positive for local retailers as more people are shopping local now. Buyers want to know they can take an item back, and it’s not going to be a surprise with extra fees once they get the item.”
When asked if shoppers will buy from Italy or head to Sicily instead, Mamo added, “There will always be those that wish to make a shopping weekend out of Black Friday. However, we have seen prices become much more competitive locally, and we must remember that nowadays, Black Friday isn’t just electrical goods. Black Friday and Cyber Monday apply to almost every sector, from discounts on hotels to pet stores and beauty products. The nature of what we are buying has also changed”
Will we see hordes of people packing prime shopping hotspots this weekend? “It’s entirely up to each person to shop how they feel most comfortable. Of course, shops must have the right Covid-19 protocols in place, and so far, we have not experienced any difficulties in compliance on that front. Going in-store and looking around is all part of the experience, whilst others prefer to browse online. Either way, we anticipate it will be a lucrative Black Friday for local businesses, certainly the well-prepared ones. The chamber of SME’s has also worked hard on compiling a shopping guide of offers to help people compare and plan ahead. It can be found on our Facebook page.”
Last year the Chamber of SME’S reported in a statement, “2020 was inevitably a challenging year. Businesses were therefore managing their expectations regarding Black Friday, however they still worked much harder to secure the best outcome. Even though initial reactions vary, Black Friday was still exceptional when compared to the rest of the year and sometimes even comparable to the Pre-Covid Black Friday,”. Black Friday will fall on the 26th November this year.