DUBAI: White Friday, the Middle Eastern equivalent of Black Friday in the US, has proved a huge shopping event in recent years with many online and physical retailers offering massive sales and discounts.
Black Friday is the day following Thanksgiving in the US, the fourth Thursday of November. Although not an official holiday, it is a day for shopping.
Nearly 180 million Americans took to the malls last year during the five days beginning on Thanksgiving and including Black Friday, according to research by the National Retail Federation and Prosper Insights & Analytics.
White Friday began in 2014 and prior to this year’s event, which is scheduled for late November, Twitter conducted research on shoppers’ views and their buying preferences.
Many shoppers are out to cut costs and, with inflation on the rise, are out for bargains.
Head of research at Twitter Middle East and North Africa Walid Issa told Arab News: “Our recent Twitter Trends 2022 report found that users in Saudi Arabia are spending more consciously — in an era of high inflation, frugality is a hallmark of smart living.”
Half of the respondents to the survey were uncertain whether White Friday boasted the best discounts of the year, only 19 percent agreeing and 31 percent disagreeing.
A majority (66 percent) did not make any purchases on the big day last year. Of those who did, 21 percent only shopped online, 6 percent shopped in-store and 8 percent shopped both online and in-store.
This time, a majority (58 percent) do not have any plans, but 42 percent do intend to shop more than usual, with half of them (21 percent) planning to do their shopping online.
The shift to e-commerce has seen Amazon emerge as the leader with 41 percent intending to shop via the platform on White Friday, followed by Noon (38 percent), Jarir Bookstore (33 percent), eXtra (25 percent) and SHEIN (21 percent).
Fashion items like clothes, bags and shoes are the most popular category with 38 percent interested in purchases, followed by tech devices like smartphones, tablets and laptops (32 percent) and home appliances (23 percent).
Other tech devices such as gaming consoles (19 percent), smart home devices (17 percent) and TVs (13 percent) proved less popular with prospective buyers.
Issa said that despite a reported lack of interest in the event itself, there was a 49 percent year-on-year growth in conversation related to offers, competitions and discounts in the Kingdom.
He added: “Regional sales like White Friday provide brands the opportunity to tap into those ongoing conversations by offering their audiences relevant products.”
Buyers are actively looking for deals with 52 percent using Twitter to discover White Friday offers.
Nearly half (49 percent) said they trust Twitter when looking to buy a new product, and 32 percent would visit a nearby retailer if they saw a tweet about a sale.
Issa said: “This means that there is untapped potential for brands to convert prospective buyers among the 66 percent that did not make any purchase during last year’s White Friday.”