What South Africans bought this Black Friday

Black Friday 2020 sales volumes in South Africa were higher than last year, but the growth was far lower than expected.

The follow are highlights of the day:

  • 2020 was very different from previous years, as purchasing activity did not start at midnight
  • Sales volumes after midnight were down 33% while there was 63% less spending during this period. Volumes started to pick up at around 08:00
  • There were surges between 08:00 and 09:00, and 19:00 and 20:00. These were more impulse buying, with high volumes but far lower basket values
  • Black Friday as a whole saw an increase of 14% in sales volumes, much lower than the expected 35% growth
  • There was a 400% increase in sales when compared to a typical weekday
  • The most popular item was the air fryer, with disposable face masks coming in second
  • Dishwashers were among the most popular appliances
  • Takealot’s more traditional top sellers were Samsung and Hisense TVs, the PlayStation 4 console and 3 Game bundle, laptops, wearable tech such as the Garmin Fenix 6X Pro Sports Watch and Apple AirPods Pro
  • In Massmart stores Makro and Game, top sellers were 25-litre cooler boxes, Smart HD TVs, Raleigh bicycles, rechargeable lanterns, fridge/freezer combos and kettles
  • Makro shoppers who opted for the Click and Collect option did so not to avoid a trip to the store, but to reserve highly desirable products. When they collected the product in store, they shopped more.
  • BankServ Africa’s preliminary tally of Black Friday transactions shows total in-store card purchases numbered 4 967 022 (30% down from 2019)
  • Online sales reached 868 903, which was 62% up on 2019’s figures
  • 95% of payments were done through credit and debit cards, dwarfing EFT

Karen Nadasen, PayU South Africa CEO, puts the lower-than-expected growth and low midnight sales down to a few factors:

  • The big Black Friday deals expected at midnight did not materialise
  • There were many retailers which only put their deals up in the morning
  • There was a big decline in airline ticket sales, which typically account for large Black Friday volumes

Image credit: Thapelo Morebudi/Sunday Times

By Mike Anderson, founder and CEO of NSBC

As a business owner you’ve probably been asked to give a discount. How did that make you feel? Your response to that request is critical to the sustainability of your business – as well as to your confidence.

Because after all, you’re either worth the price you’re asking or you’re not. No discussion. This may sound harsh, but if you don’t believe you are worth it why do you expect your clients to believe it?

Reasons to stop discounting your pricing:

  • It’s no fun
  • It requires a time and energy you can use elsewhere
  • It creates a standard for other clients
  • You’re not getting paid what you’re worth
  • It can lower confidence in your business

Once you’ve made the decision not to discount your prices, it will be much easier for you to simply say this in a friendly and relaxed way if you’re asked. Your mind is already made up, so the answer flows naturally.

If a prospective client is not able, or willing, to pay your prices then they probably aren’t a good fit for your business. Moving on from people who are not a match allows you to create space for clients who are willing and able to purchase from your business.

There will always be someone offering something similar to your offerings for the absolute lowest price. I hope you don’t aim to be that business.

The key is to focus on the value your services and products deliver, not what they cost. People who truly understand the benefits they will receive when they buy from your business will accept the prices you have set because they understand the value they are going to get.

If negotiating is the norm in your business, there is still a way to be true to the value your business delivers without discounting. First, get clear about the total value of the offering. Then if you choose to, you can reduce the amount you deliver, along with the price, which means you are not discounting.

Another way to avoid discounting when negotiating is to stick to your original price and add a one-time, additional bonus for new clients.

While you’re thinking about eliminating discounting, please consider increasing your prices. Seriously, when is the last time you raised your prices? And when you did, what was the percentage of the increase? If it’s been awhile since you raised your prices, it’s probably time.

It’s natural that your expertise expands and deepens over time so why shouldn’t your pricing reflect that. Whether or not you decide to increase your pricing, at least be willing to stand firm on your current pricing and don’t discount.

Think about it: you’ll save time and energy if you stick to your pricing; you will feel confident about the value you deliver to your clients; and be more profitable.

So make the decision today that discounting your prices is not part of your business philosophy. Focus on the value your business creates for your clients and watch your business grow.


By Bradley Prior for MyBroadband

The government has instructed South African schools to give Grade 4 – 9 learners up to 5% extra marks for up to three subjects if this will help them pass the 2020 academic year.

This is an increase over the extra 2% which was available to Grade 7-9 learners in 2019, with this change being attributed to the interruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Mark adjustments and condonations are used as special dispensations to offset potential high retention of learners in an academic year, said Department of Basic Education Director-General Hubert Mathanzima Mweli.

“In 2020, due to the COVID-19 pandemic disruptions and related learning losses experienced in Grades 4-9, the application of these special dispensations are continued.”

The circular sent to schools by the government states that a mark adjustment of 5% is allowed in a maximum of three subjects, and thereafter, a further condonation in Mathematics must be applied.

This requires learners who would have passed except for their mathematics mark, to be allowed through to the next grade in 2021 via a “condoned” pass.

This is regardless of the mark they receive for mathematics, Mweli confirmed.

Mweli also noted that grade 9 learners who are condoned, and who achieve less than 30% for mathematics, should still be allowed to take Mathematics in Grade 10.

“As in 2019, there is no restriction of only choosing Mathematical Literacy as a result of the Mathematics condonation,” said Mweli.

Condoned learners must have their mathematics mark indicated on their mark schedule, and the letter “C” will be present next to the mark to show that the mark was condoned.

Additionally, the learner’s report will state:

“Mathematics mark has been condoned and the learner is promoted to the next grade.”

Senior research associate at UJ Professor Mary Metcalfe supported the decision by the Department of Basic Education.

“We need to recognise the catch up of learning from the loss of learning time in 2020 will take place over several years,” said Metcalfe.

“Learners must be supported over the time frame in an educational atmosphere which minimises stress and which takes into account the very different environments in which learning was possible — or impossible — at home.”

She also believes that teachers should be given the flexibility to make the best decision regarding the condonation of learners.

“[They] are best placed to judge if the learning context of the subsequent grade will be able to support them,” said Metcalfe.

However, UCT education Professor Ursula Hoadley told Times Live that the decision is illogical, as schools have already taken measures to address the effect of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The reason given is to compensate for learning losses, but schools were already required to address this by only assessing what was taught (which in the majority of schools was a very small proportion of the normal curriculum) and by having a much greater proportion of the mark allocated to School-Based Assessments (as opposed to exams),” Hoadley explained.

She said that because of this decision, many more learners are likely to pass than last year, which will result in overcrowded classes.

“It is also going to lead to much greater heterogeneity in classes, making teachers’ work that much more difficult, especially in trying to reach the number of underprepared students in their classrooms who, in a normal year, may have stayed in the previous grade,” said Hoadley.

Western Cape Education Department (WCED) minister Debbie Schafer told My Broadband that she believes this decision is reasonable when one considers the effect of the COVID-19 pandemic on learners.

“However, it should only be for this year, and measures must be put in place next year to catch up,” said Schafer.

“The WCED is currently engaging with the DBE to clarify a number of assessment matters before providing guidance to our schools.”


By Kerry Sutherland for BizCommunity 

Following a year dominated by Covid-19, with its knock-on economic effects, back-to-school 2021 looks different from previous years.

Salary cuts and retrenchments have affected many South Africans, and as a result, many parents are more cash-strapped than ever before. These are some of the changes we anticipate, with tips on how parents can navigate this expensive annual exercise.

Tighter budgets

Many schools provide parents with a list of stationery and uniform requirements for the year. There is no need to buy everything at the start of the year. Buy what you need and delay the purchasing of other items until they are needed. This is particularly true for the winter school uniform.

Before you go shopping, create a budget for each child. If your child is brand conscious, emphasise that brands are a “nice to have” rather than a necessity. Give them a budget and make it a fun exercise for them to shop around for the best bargains. This can also instil a sense of satisfaction that your child has shopped wisely.

From lunchboxes to laptops, make sure you’re buying quality so that you do not need to replace it in the short term. There are many websites you can use which compare what a laptop has to offer and if it is good value for money.

Find out if your child’s school has a second-hand shop for clothing, speak to other parents who are leaving the school, or who might have older children who have outgrown clothing, to see what you can buy from them.

Homeschooling your children could see your grocery bill expand. Meal (and even snack) planning in advance can help to keep track of your spending by avoiding impulse purchases and reducing food wastage. Prepare lunches the night before so that you aren’t tempted to order take-away.

Homeschooling options

Education has changed dramatically after many children around the world received their education through e-learning platforms during the pandemic. According to Deloitte’s research in the United States, 51% of parents are spending more on internet-based learning resources year-on-year, such as virtual tutors, subscriptions to e-learning platforms, and online classes. This has also been a trend in South Africa, as many children thrived with homeschooling and now prefer to continue with this method going forward.

A potential solution for families where one parent has lost their job during 2020 is for that parent to stay home and monitor the children while they embark on home-schooling. Many employers have told employees to work from home or to work fewer days from the office, allowing for more parental supervision of home-schooled children.

The initial outlay of homeschooling is pricey. You may need to buy desks and each child will need a quality laptop or desktop computer, with a webcam and microphone. Your household will also require a printer and scanner (or smartphone with scanner app) and an internet connection with sufficient data every month. Textbooks are in the form of e-books and cost R900 and R1,000 per year.

The cost of doing the South African National Senior Certificate online can range from as little as R3,500 to R23,900 per year. The cost of the British curriculum internationally accredited (Junior High, International GCSE, AS-Levels and A-Levels) can range from R10,000 to R84,000 per year.

Children can also tap into free online resources to supplement their school’s curriculum, by streaming stories for free through audible on Amazon or taking free courses on the non-profit Khan Academy’s website.

Many parents pay a fortune in private extra lessons for their children. Many of these can now be done online at a reduced cost and, in addition, you can save time and fuel costs.

Don’t stop your education savings plans

In cash-constrained times like these, you may wish to stop or reduce your children’s education savings plans. Be aware that insurance company education policies will charge a penalty for stopping your premiums. In addition, we all understand the power of compound interest over time; by stopping or reducing now, you will have to put in much more later to make up the difference. Many South African shares have lost value during 2020, so it is an excellent time to buy these shares at reduced prices.

If money is really tight, you can convince your child to contribute a portion of their birthday loot towards their education savings.

Lower increases in school fees for 2021

While many private schools have tried to reduce their annual fee increases as much as they can, if you find yourself in a position where you are unable to pay fees, contact the school urgently to discuss a possible reduction in fees, or a different fee paying arrangement.


Tips to survive Black Friday

By Chad Williams for IOL

With South African shoppers eagerly awaiting the release of arguably the best shopping deals on Black Friday, with all that has happened this year, the burning question is: how will retailers manage the influx of shoppers, bearing in mind that physical distancing needs to maintained?

Last year, I penned a few tips on how to survive Black Friday.

Since things are slightly different this year, I’ve decided to share these great tips with you again, with a few amendments here and there, of course.

Firstly, you must dress accordingly. Don’t wear flip-flops and thick clothes, or you won’t make it past the front door. Wear comfortable yet grippy shoes as well as loose clothes so that it’s easy to move around. It gets very hot in shops on days like this, and chances are the air conditioner will be broken.

Don’t forget your mask and sanitiser. People are going to shout and breathe heavily around you. Safety always comes first. And we’re still in the middle of a pandemic.

Make a list of the items you need or want, and take your flyers with you. It’s important to have a game plan. People tend to overspend when they don’t know where to go in the store and end up running up unnecessary aisles.

Take a shopping buddy with you. The other person is not only there to help you carry the unnecessary appliances you purchased, but also keep you in check when you go overboard.

Draw only the amount of money that you’re prepared to spend, and don’t forget to keep your taxi fare in your socks.

Do some exercises before Black Friday weekend. You’re gonna have to be focused both physically and mentally. Chances are you will be involved in a scrum for that blender.

Eat a good breakfast before you leave home. Eating food in the mall is not a priority on Black Friday. Have a good breakfast and take that energy supplement if you must.

Leave the kids at home. I know you love your bundles of joy, but they will drive you crazy while you hunt for those specials. Especially if they see Elsa or Peppa Pig.

Check online deals first. Most retailers will send a Black Friday teaser a few hours before the time.

Lastly, stay at home. Avoid the shops, and all the madness that goes with Black Friday and the hassle of going to a mall during a pandemic. I guarantee you will have more money left in January. And you will definitely have a good laugh at all the videos you’ll see on social media of grown adults fighting over coffee and chicken.


Online sales boom expected on Black Friday

By Estelle Sinkins for The Witness

Online retailers are expecting a boom on Black Friday after health experts appealed to shoppers to avoid crowds at shopping centres.

Nicolet Pienaar, the head of market insights at trends analysts GfK South Africa, said retail chains with established online shopping facilities and logistics were likely to be the biggest winners.

“Loyal buyers are putting their trust in the online presence of their preferred offline retailers,” she added. “They feel that the physical presence of these stores means they can follow up with a human if they encounter any problems.”

The battle for consumers’ hard-earned cash is already fierce with many of the large retail chains — including Game, Makro, Clicks, Dischem, Checkers, Pick n Pay and Spar — offering big discounts to shoppers in the lead-up to Black Friday.

John Bradshaw, retail executive for marketing at Pick n Pay, said the company had worked closely with suppliers for months to secure stock.

“We have taken several proactive steps to minimise any overcrowding, which includes extending our Black Friday deals to run over two weeks,” he added.

Shoppers who do want to head to brick and mortar stores can expect retailers to implement strict lockdown guidelines. Bradshaw said Pick n Pay stores would be limiting the number of people in its stores, wiping down trolleys before use, sanitising hands upon arrival, sanitising till points, and providing floor markers for physical distancing.

It’s a similar story at Game and Makro. Brian Leroni, senior vice president group corporate affairs for Massmart, said staff would be marshalling social distancing measures in queues. They will also be managing the number of customers in stores throughout the day.

Desmond Heunis, general manager for the Liberty Midlands Mall in Pietermaritzburg, said the shopping centre had worked closely with retailers to manage Black Friday.

The planning covers security, crowd control and traffic management in conjunction with SAPS, traffic authorities, parking management operators and the on-site management team.


By S’thembile Cele for News24

Employment and Labour Minister Thulas Nxesi has warned that the state-run Unemployment Insurance Fund could collapse if it is forced to again extend special benefits to workers who’ve lost income as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

The government initially committed R40 billion from the fund, which is financed using workers’ monthly contributions, to subsidise the special benefits for three months. The relief, which was given to those whose employers couldn’t afford to pay them or who were forced to take leave, was subsequently extended by a further four months until mid-October. Almost R53 billion has been dispensed to more than 4.7 million people so far.

While there have been reports that the UIF has R140 billion available that could be used to further extend the so-called Temporary Employer-Employee Relief Scheme, much of the money is tied up in investments such as bonds, property and equities, and can’t be easily accessed, according to Nxesi. The fund will also need money to pay out regular unemployment claims to more than 1.5 million people in the near future, he said in an interview.

“If we blow this money on this temporary scheme, what will happen to the ordinary beneficiaries who have put their money into it?” he said. “We cannot collapse this fund.”

The Congress of South African Trade Unions earlier this month called for payments to workers in industries that remain adversely affected by virus-related curbs to be extended by a further two months. It noted that the fund has about R60 billion in liquid assets that could be utilized.

“It is far cheaper to invest in saving jobs and companies by extending TERS than to allow thousands of companies to close and retrench millions of workers,” Cosatu said. It conceded that the fund couldn’t provide ongoing support for workers, and called for “a combined package of relief in the form of stimulus, tax relief, and debt relief.”

Cosatu has been at loggerheads with the government over its decision to renege on a three-year pay deal agreed in 2018 by denying civil servants raises this year – a dispute that is now before the courts. The federation has also objected to plans to freeze state workers’ pay for the next three years – a measure the National Treasury has said is necessary to bring burgeoning state debt under control.

Nxesi, whose department oversees the protection of labuor rights, said he is closely monitoring negotiations with the unions, which are handled by the Department of Public Service and Administration.

“My view is that there is a need for a social compact across government to say how are we going to deal with the issue of a salary increment versus the job losses we are seeing,” he said.

The minister also said his department is busy drafting a national employment policy that will aim at dealing with an influx of undocumented foreign nationals, some of whom are exploited by local employers.

“We are looking at the sectors where we can implement quotas for local workers” to be employed as well as safeguard the rights of foreign workers who are legally in the country, he said.


Cheques are officially dead in South Africa

Source: Supermarket & Retailer

The South African Reserve Bank (SARB), Financial Sector Conduct Authority (FSCA), Payments Association of South Africa (PASA) and the Banking Association South Africa (BASA) have jointly agreed that that the issuing and the acceptance/collection of cheques will cease from 31 December 2020.

The Reserve Bank said this decision was taken due to the numerous challenges associated with the usage of cheques.
It said that these challenges include:

  • A lengthy processing period;
  • Fraud perpetrated through the issuing of cheques;
  • Cheques as an expensive payment instrument;
  • The restricted acceptance of cheques;
  • Declining usage;
  • Limited education and protection for the consumer;
  • Ageing interbank cheque processing infrastructure; and
  • Impact of the coronavirus pandemic (Covid-19) outbreak.

“In this regard, South African banks will not accept any cheques for deposit or encashment after 31 December 2020,” the Reserve Bank said.

“Banks are expected to extensively communicate with their clients leading up to and beyond the discontinuation of cheques. Furthermore, to educate their clients on alternative electronic payment methods that may be used.”

The SARB said that affected stakeholders are requested not to write/draw or accept cheques after 31 December 2020.

“They are encouraged to approach their banks to be offered alternative electronic payment methods or to direct any queries they may have related to the process of termination of the usage of cheques,” it said.

You can read more about the phasing out of cheques from the national payment system in the SARB’s consultation paper here.

Woolies to launch same-day delivery service

By Lucinda Dordley for Cape Town Etc

Lovers of Woolies’ quality and service will be delighted to hear that the retailer has decided to launch its own same-day delivery service. It made this announcement via social media on Monday, 23 November 2020.

Called “Woolies Dash”, the retailer promises the service will deliver groceries within the hour. It did not, however, provide details on when the service will launch or which areas it will service.

Recently, competitors Pick n Pay and Checkers also launched similar delivery services.

Pick n Pay partnered with online grocery service Bottles to bring customers what they need. However, as Bottles was not permitted to sell alcohol during the strict lockdown earlier this year, the app had to be re-purposed for on-demand groceries instead of liquor.

Checkers has its Sixty60 app, which was launched in 2019. The service allows customers to accept a delivery within 60 minutes, or alternatively at a time that best suits them. Users can pay using a credit or chip-enabled debit card and shoppers can track their order throughout delivery with real-time GPS tracking.


Small businesses set to cash in quick on #PayIn30

Source: IOL

A new initiative, #PayIn30, has been launched in an effort to ensure that small and medium-sized businesses (SMEs) in South Africa are paid within 30 days.

#PayIn30 is spearheaded by Business for South Africa, the SA SME Fund, and Business Leadership South Africa and supported by, among others, Business Unity SA, the Small Business Institute and the Black Business Council.

About 2.5 million SMEs account for 10.8 million jobs in South Africa. Transunion data points to 6.4 percent of formal SMEs going into bankruptcy (up 50 percent from last year), with 260 000 jobs lost and another 240 000 at risk as they struggle amid the economic fallout from Covid-19.

With a tightening economy, the banks’ payment holidays coming to an end, and the winding down of the Temporary Employer/Employee Relief Scheme, this was expected to rise to between 10 and 15 percent of small businesses going into business failure next year, with almost a million jobs lost and at risk.

“Covid-19 has made this problem worse,” the business groups said.


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