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Malls are empty as shoppers opt to shop online

Nov 28, 2020

By Mumtaz Saley Moosa


Black Friday, a much looked forward to a shopping experience for millions across the world and South Africa is no exception.

The images of Black Friday shopping frenzies past surely struck fear in the minds of retailers, employees and public health officials. We all know the scene: A crush of shoppers barely a breath apart, grabbing at the same unbelievable deal, whether gaming console, TV, toy or bra.

But this year, 2020, had to be different.

Due to the current pandemic, Black Friday has been changed from a short sale into a month-long series of smaller sales that kicked off at the beginning of November to encourage shoppers to beat the rush and spread out demand.

Many retailers are feeling the pinch of the tough economic climate due to the lockdown and are hoping that this a month of Fridays of humongous sales may help them break even.

Previously, Black Friday would mean long, winding queues, huge crowds and fistfights among shoppers. But, this year the mood has shifted, with the pandemic and lockdown causing widespread economic hardship for many and fear of contracting the virus, many have chosen to shop online rather than at malls. Instead, Black Friday 2020, saw mostly empty malls as most shoppers chose the online option.

Retailers, in turn, have had to reimagine the most important shopping season of the year with public health in mind.

For Gen Z, online shopping is a new norm as can be but for the traditionalist, it will take some getting used to.


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