Yes, it’s finally here. This year’s long-awaited Jumia Black Friday sale started from midnight, on Monday November 13 as scheduled. This is the third edition of the annual online sale in Kenya, having been first organized in 2013. And it promises to be bigger and better in more ways than one.
But before we go deep into the Jumia Black Friday promotion, let’s consider another similar promotion by another e-commerce player, China’s Alibaba. On Saturday November 11, 2017, Alibaba held its Singles Day (also called 11/11 due to the date) sales promo.
(TOP: Jumia Kenya MD, Sam Chappatte awards Charity Wairimu of Ruiru with an exclusive Huawei Mate 10 phone she won when Jumia Black Friday went Live on the platform on Sunday night. Charity found the phone under the Jumia Treasure Hunt hidden under the men’s category).
The Singles Day sale, which Alibaba first organized in 2009, targets the youth demographic, mainly those falling within the 18 – 30 age group. Or the “young, unattached Chinese with smartphones”, according to an Observer article published early this year – that is the singles.
But unlike Jumia’s Black Friday sale which is this year expected to run for a whole month, Singles Day is a one-day sale. Meaning that if you miss it on the 11/11, there’s no next day to purchase the discounted item(s) on offer, you’ve to wait till the following year.
Again, the focus on the youth and smartphones has also meant that most of the Singles Day sales and transactions are done and completed via mobile phones. The central role of smartphones in Singles Day sale can be seen from a CNN report which stated that over 80 per cent of the transactions during last year’s promo were done via mobile phones.
This year, the figure of those taking part in the promo via their mobile phones was even higher than last year.
“Another important metric is mobile. Not only does a higher number mean that Alibaba is reaching new/newish internet users, but mobile users tend to be more engaged which is obviously an important goal… This year, Alibaba said 90 percent of sales were made on mobile which is up on 82 percent for 2016 and 69 percent in 2015,” notes a TechCrunch article.
For Jumia, there is a strong migration of customers using their phones to access the platform. The trend since 2013 was that customers would browse and window shop using their mobile, but when it came to the actual act of buying, they would prefer to do it on a desktop.
But this trend is changing. From 2016, Jumia observed more and more people browsing and completing their purchase directly from their hand-sest. Again, 68 per cent of visitors access Jumia from their mobile phones currently now, generating 53 per cent of all orders.
Anyway, Singles Day is the past, and is in the past, as it already took place on Saturday. Now, we’re talking about Jumia Black Friday sale, the present and future, which began at midnight on November 13.
Immediately the clock struck midnight to usher in Monday, the 2017 edition of the Jumia Black Friday started. And it will then continue for the next 31 days till December 13, 2017, less than 2 weeks to Christmas. That’s why the promo is also called ‘31 Days of Deals’.
Last year, the sale ran for a week. So why was it extended to a month this year? The answer to this is that in early September, Jumia carried out an online survey and the Kenyan respondents in the poll – 54 per cent to be exact – indicated that they prefer a month of sales.
The second highest percentage of respondents – 16 per cent – voted for a 2-week sale duration while 20 per cent a week of promotional sales. The remaining 10 per cent of the people involved in survey favoured a 1-day promo.
Having a longer sale duration also has its benefits for buyers in that if you for example fail to get your preferred item today – maybe because you never had sufficient cash on you – you can go online and get the item tomorrow or next week. Longer sale period also means that you can go to the Jumia Black Friday website, pick the items you need do your budget then order the items when you finally get the cash during the promo period.
That’s why with the sale duration extended to a month, Jumia Kenya is already convinced – if not certain – that this year’s Black Friday will be four times bigger than the Jumia Anniversary sale held in June (and which was itself twice as big as the previous year’s Black Friday).
And the Jumia Kenya boss expressed similar confidence as early as September. “Unlike the previous two years when the promo lasted a day or two, this year’s edition is expected to be more exciting with plans already underway to ensure Jumia customers get the best shopping deals and experience for four consecutive weeks,” said Sam Chappatte, the Jumia Kenya MD.
Worth noting is that traffic on the Jumia website increased by 28 per cent over the last year, with an average of 3.4 million people visiting the website monthly. This is the equivalent of 11 per cent of Kenya’s internet users visiting Jumia every month.
In July, Jumia experienced its biggest month in terms of traffic, and was forced to shut down its website due to overwhelming demand. Then during the Black Friday sale, the online retailer expects to have three times much more demand than it had in July on its anniversary. Let’s just hope that the site won’t be overwhelmed by traffic from eager shoppers keen to benefit from the deals on offer.