DUBAI: Noon, an online shopping platform backed by Saudi Arabia’s sovereign fund Public Investment Fund (PIF) and Dubai businessman Mohamed Alabbar, is gearing up to attract millions of new shoppers as part of its annual “Yellow Friday” sales push.
A new initiative that started in 2018, Yellow Friday will run this year from Monday, Nov. 23 and run until midnight on Saturday, Nov. 29, offering up to 70 percent discounts on a range of items, from technology and gadgets to clothes, beauty products and accessories.
Noon set a target in 2019 of attracting 25 million unique shoppers during the marketing drive. “Last year’s Yellow Friday sale surpassed even our own expectations,” Huseyin Erol, chief strategy officer at Noon, told Arab News, without giving exact figures.
During a Noon presentation last year in Dubai to regional sellers, the platform reported that during the Yellow Friday sales push its weekly revenue increased eight-fold, the average customer conversion rate on the portal and app doubled, the number of items purchased per basket rose 50 percent and the amount of average time shoppers spent on the site increased threefold.
“This year’s Yellow Friday is going to be the biggest yet and we can’t wait to welcome more customers than ever before,” Erol said.
With the onset of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), more Saudi consumers and retailers are embracing online shopping. Earlier this month, a survey compiled by consultancy firm Podean found that half of the Kingdom’s consumers shop online at least every week, 24 percent of those surveyed shop online two to three times a week and 11 percent purchase items on a daily basis.
“The pandemic rapidly accelerated the already fast growing adoption of online shopping in Saudi Arabia, with consumers that were slow to adopt e-commerce as a way to buy goods forced to embrace this channel while under lockdown,” said Mark Power, CEO of Podean. “We are now seeing brands that were prepared for this rapid shift in consumer behavior reaping the rewards.”
Erol pointed out that the Noon platform was developed to help local small businesses to expand online: “As the homegrown digital marketplace, we’re invested in giving local businesses a platform to compete in a global retail event, right here in the region… We are very grateful for the love and support given to us by retail partners, who trust us with their businesses, and customers, who continued to trust us with their orders. We’re hopeful that 2021 will be increasingly positive compared to earlier this year.”
Last year, technology accessories – particularly AirPods – were the biggest draw for shoppers, just ahead of beauty and fitness products.
Noon has nearly 10,000 yellow vans on the roads around the region. As part of precautions to combat the spread of COVID-19, the platform offers a 100 percent contactless service, facilities are frequently sanitized and all delivery personnel undergo regular temperature checks.
Noon was launched in the UAE and Saudi Arabia in December 2017 and in Egypt in February last year. With an initial investment of $1 billion and working from headquarters in Riyadh, Noon said in 2016 that it aims to expand online sales in the region from 2 percent of the total retail market ($3 billion), to 15 percent ($70 billion) within a decade.