What Is Black Friday?

Thanksgiving is a holiday celebrated towards the end of November, in places like the United States, Canada, and Liberia, etc. On this day, those celebrating, extend their gratitude for the preceding year of harvests. Similar holidays are also celebrated in Germany and Japan. Today, the Thanksgiving holiday is closely followed by Black Friday sales, wherein large, once-in-a-year discounts are offered on a wide range of products. The tradition of this annual sale is usually accredited to shop owners from history, who supposedly operated at a loss (in the red) all year but profited (went into the black) as holiday shoppers flooded shops after Thanksgiving looking for holiday discounts. 

Other theories about the origination of the term “Black Friday” link it to an incident of looting in Philadelphia in the 1950s. The chaos and lost merchandise made the day a “black” event for business owners, who later tried to rebrand it to “Big Friday” but to no avail until the 1980s. After the 1980s, the term became widespread. Since then, Black Friday sales have become common across the globe and Pakistan is no exception. Just like the retailers of the United States that need to rebrand “Black Friday”, in Pakistan, businesses often rename this sale event to other names like “White Friday” and “Blessed Friday”. Merchants feel the need to do this to make the annual Sale more palatable to a majority Muslim consumer base, to whom, Friday is a holy day and hence not “black” (interpreted to mean evil). 

Even though the famous sale began as a one-day event after Thanksgiving, it evolved since then into a four-day marathon that sometimes even spans a week! 

Black Friday In Pakistan: 

Since the pandemic has thrown every aspect of commerce and life into disarray, I base my analysis mostly on data acquired in 2018 i.e., before the spread of Covid-19. 

In 2018, Pakistani shoppers were ready to spend an average of Rs. 5,473 (not adjusted for inflation) availing Black Friday Sales. Research by Black Friday. Global indicates that categories like beauty and cosmetics, clothing, and shoes, as well as electronics, are the most popular amongst local shoppers. Ecommerce retail was distributed quite evenly throughout the day but peaked at 3 and 8 pm when consumers aged between 18-24 and 64+ showed the most interest. 

Picodi’s research shows that the average discount offered in Pakistani stores at the time was 57% and at least 77% of the surveyed participants trust the discounts and sales offered. Most online shoppers used smartphones (72%) with desktops(24%) and tablets(4%) following respectively. These insights show that while Black Friday has not originated in Pakistan, the local retailers have done a remarkable job in adapting the global annual sale trend to regional needs. 

How Has The Pandemic Impacted Black Friday Sales?

Businesses across the globe rely on producing goods in low-cost regions like East and Southeast Asia. Since the pandemic mandated that factories shut down and reduce working hours, organizations have had to maneuver around uneven regulations and changing policies every day. As manufacturing sputtered to a halt, retailers had to face reduced supply in the face of rising rents and inflation. Rapidly changing trade and border policies further complicate the task of fulfilling contractual obligations with customers on time, further docking sales and customer trust. Within the “shortage economy” as the Economist terms it, during shopping seasons consumers can expect late arrivals to be common as well as a limited number of discounts compared to previous years. For the U.S, various sources have reported that supply chain issues such as the availability of truckers have impacted package delivery. Moreover, travel bans around the globe have caused many in the shipping workforce to be locked in their vessels, unable to leave or return home. These challenges introduce issues ranging from finding adequate labor to managing freight shipping costs in entirely uncertain waters. 

While the supply is low, demand, on the other hand, is high. As people work from home, their online shopping needs have expanded from apparel and beauty products to daily groceries and small gadgets. For Pakistan, bSecure’s research shows a 35% growth in market size in the first quarter of 2021. Unfortunately, this inflating consumer base further complicated the already packed Black Friday. 

The data suggest that the pandemic took its toll. Adobe Analytics reports that, in the U.S., shoppers spent slightly less online this year than in 2020. Of those who did shop online, 72% chose to buy products through their phones. 

Beyond Black and White: Making the Most of Your Annual Sale

While sources such as the NY Times and Bloomberg have been right to speculate problems during Black Friday this year, the numbers by Analytics may make it look worse than it is. Retailers took up multiple strategies this season to combat demand fluctuation. During Black Friday, one such strategy was the decision to spread out the Sale over a longer period. This allowed merchants to distribute consumer traffic into “early sales” and avoid stock outages due to delays in the replenishment of year-end merchandise.

Other businesses chose to limit the range of products that were discounted as well as cut down on the total discount offered. This approach worked better for those organizations that could rely on high traffic and demand regardless of the discounts offered. For other businesses, limited options may have driven consumers away!

The right strategy for each business can look very different from the other. However, as a rule of thumb, organizations need to ensure that they get the basics right. This can include big things like building a frictionless checkout, to small design decisions that can directly impact customer awareness and behavior. 

Quick Checklist

  • Maximize Impact! Use Headers, landing pages, popups, and other design elements to announce your sale. This ensures that your customer knows about your deals as soon as they land on your website
  • Market it: Make sure you inform your customers of oncoming sales through multiple channels. Make dedicated posts on your social media for special discounts and target them wisely! It is important to maintain good mailing behavior during such times. Flooding your client’s inbox will not make them like you any better. 
  • Make it Easy: If your UX is not frictionless and quick, then customers may abandon their carts. It is important to optimize your shopping experience as well as your checkout funnel. Luckily bSecure has figured all of that out for you!

It’s On Sale With bSecure: 

Our Builders offered some of the best discounts this season, below you’ll find some of them with the best deals on the market: 





Caquina Beauty


Wonders of Heaven

Omal By Komal


Whether it’s a healthy snack or beautiful clothes, bSecure’s merchants are busy providing some of the greatest deals in town. With a frictionless checkout funnel, your customers and you benefit, from bSecure’s easy setup. Read our setup guide here, to integrate with multiple payment gateways in one go!


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