Retail traffic and sales in the Middle East and Africa (MEA) are set to peak once again during Black Friday (November 27) this year. Data from Criteo has shown that Black Friday 2019 saw an average of 336% increase in sales and a 170% increase in traffic. Similar trends are expected this year, with e-commerce expected to perform stronger as consumers move to online shopping, in the wake of COVID-19.
A new Criteo study of 900 shoppers in Saudi Arabia revealed that consumers are more comfortable with online shopping than last year. In fact, September 2020 saw +37%higher online sales year-on-year. Four out of 10 Saudi shoppers plan to buy more products online this year, including beauty products, toys and gaming items, cultural goods, consumer electronics, apparel/accessories, household products, home goods, and luxury brands. Half of Saudi shoppers will spend more on groceries, household products and beauty products.
Alistair Burton, Country Manager MEA at Criteo commented: “The events of 2020 made it an extraordinary year for e-commerce. Our research shows that this year consumers will swap door-buster deals for online discounts that start sooner and span a longer period of time. Retailers who want to maximize their gains during Black Friday should provide seamless customer journeys — from easy-to-use websites and apps, to free delivery and easy returns, giving their customers a safe and joyful festive season.”
The Criteo research also revealed that while over 40% of Saudi shoppers say they feel more comfortable shopping in-store now than they did a few months ago, 58% of them also said that they feel more comfortable shopping online this year than in-store. While Saudi shoppers say they’ll purchase more online across most product categories in the next few months, their offline purchases will be primarily groceries and home goods.
Saudi shoppers are more driven by value than ever. Promotions will drive shopping this year –close to 5 in 10 Saudi shoppers say that they would not wait until Black Friday to buy presents if they get early discounts from their favorite retailers.
When buying online, most shoppers expect free and fast delivery and low prices. More than one third (35%) of Saudi shoppers care about shipping costs when buying online. Shipping cost is also one of the top reason influencing the Kingdom’s shoppers to buy at a specific online retailer this year.
“As competition heats up and browsing starts to pick up in November, it’s important that retailers boost their online presence, in order to influence customer consideration prior to peak conversion dates and attract shoppers in the countdown to Black Friday”, added Burton.