Bako, John Chukwudi
Shoppers in Ibadan metropolis, neighbouring towns, villages and communities besieged Palms Shopping Mall at the popular Ring Road, Ibadan in an attempt to buy desired items seizing the opportunity of the lowest price offered by retailers (Shoprite) on Black Friday. Shoprite used the event to increase sales. other stores around the outfit also leveraged on Shoprite publicity for ‘Black Friday Sales Campaign” to promote sales for their own products offered at reduced prices. Shoprite during the campaign extended their store hours from 7 a.m – 10 p.m` and offer special promotions, including price promotions.
Black Friday is an informal name for the Friday following Thanksgiving Day in the United States, which is celebrated on the fourth Thursday of November. The day after Thanksgiving has been regarded as the beginning of America’s Christmas shopping season since 1952, although the term “Black Friday” did not become widely used until more recent decades. However, since the start of the 21st century, there have been attempts by retailers with origins in the United States to introduce a retail “Black Friday” to other countries around the world. In several countries, local retailers have attempted to promote the day to remain competitive with US-based online retailers. In recent years, Black Friday has been promoted in Nigeria by in-store and online retailers such as Jumia, Shoprite, SPAR and other big foreign and indigenous retail stores. The event has grown over the years since 2014 in Bolivia, Colombia, Denmark, Italy, Finland, France, Ireland, Lebanon, Nigeria, South Africa and Sweden.
In the United States, research revealed that it is common for retailers to open at 6:00 a.m., but in the late 2000s many opened at 4:00 a.m or 5:00 a.m. In 2011, several retailers in U.S opened at midnight for the first time. While in 2012 and 2014 several retailers opened their stores at 8:00 p.m., 5:00 p.m and 6:00 p.m on Thanksgiving Day. Franspat gathered Friday morning that Shoprite, Ibadan threw its glass doors open at 7 a.m with thousands of customers struggling to get into the store to get various items on promotion. For so many customers who spoke to Franspat, getting to Palms Mall as early as 7 a.m was a big challenge considering distance, security and difficulties in getting transportation. However, these challenges were not enough reason to deter prospective customers from finding their way to the shopping mall at Ring Road.
It was revealed as well that several people arrived in the evening of the Thanksgiving Day (Thursday) wanting to keep vigil at the mall but were stopped by mall officials – these individuals however looked for alternative place(s) to pass the night and returned as early as 5 a.m the following day (Friday) with the hope of getting entry into the mall once its gates are thrown open. One of the customers who spoke to Franspat said he arrived at the mall by 7.30 am and was astonished to see that all major items on promotion had been bought by early arrivals.
“I got here at exactly 7.30 am and was surprised to discover that all the major items on promotion have all been bought and taken by customers who had arrived much earlier – in fact I met so many people as I was driving into the mall pulling their goods out of the mall… it was amazing, I really do not know how they did it but I was told some people came here as early as 5.30am, he said”.
Mrs. Ademola (a businesswoman and trader in one of the major markets in Ibadan) who spoke with Franspat right inside Shoprite said she left her home as early as 4.30 am in company of her two friends and son to the mall for the Black Friday sales. Mrs. Ademola said she was at the Palms Mall last year to buy some items on promotion but failed to buy so many items as she was not there early enough to beat those who kept vigil in nearby hotels in order to be there “on or before” 7 a.m. The same was the experience of Joseph Samson who live in Moniya. Mr. Samson said he had planed coming to the mall before 7 a.m but could not get transportation on time. Though disappointed that he could not buy much items on sales, Mr. Samson said he is happy he got something for his efforts and time. Kolawole James Olabode experience is not different from others highlighted.
Unlike in Nigeria Black Friday has routinely been the busiest shopping day of the year in the United States since 2005, although news reports have described it as the busiest shopping day of the year for a much longer period of time. While Black Friday has appeared to be growing in popularity year on year in Nigeria, the 2019 Black Friday in Ibadan however, was packed with challenges which range from insufficient security, to poor crowd control and management, delay in payment and having products not on promotion appearing on promotion flyers.