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All abroad the biggest shopping day of the year express from US to India

Samsung, AmazonUniqlo and Domino’s were among several companies looking to turn Black Friday, yesterday, into another big sale day in India. Electronic goods and smartphone makers, ecommerce platforms, grocery stores, fashion brands, restaurants and cafes, multiplexes, hotels and malls clambered aboard the Black Friday bandwagon. Many are extending the sale period over the weekend to the start of next week or Cyber Monday, originally coined for ecommerce sales.

The signs seem to be encouraging for them. Retailers and malls said there was a 20-25% surge in footfalls and business by Friday evening and expected this will rise further over the weekend.

Nykaa said its sale (dubbed Pink Friday) reported a 12-fold jump in revenue on the first day (Friday) with 57% of the purchases made by shoppers in tier 2 and 3 markets. While brands and retailers offer discounts, companies said a 30% bump up in business from that on a regular day would make up for lower margins.

At Delhi’s Select CityWalk mall, footfalls were up 10% by early evening. “Friday is looking like a Sunday,” said CEO Yogeshwar Sharma. For apparel and shoe brand Woodland, business was up 20%. Reliance Retail expects the electronics business to double over the weekend, going by the response on Friday, an industry executive said.

Brands and platforms are hoping to create another consumption event on the lines of Republic Day and Independence Day sales that were launched over a decade back. Some retailers have been seeking to popularise Black Friday over the past few years.

“Marketers are looking at any excuse to create events by giving some discount as it works as a demand aggregator wherein Black Friday and Cyber Monday is their latest bet,” said Santosh Desai, social commentator and MD, Futurebrands Consulting. “These events create a consumer need. It’s how Republic Day, Independence Day sales or even a regional occasion like Akshaya Trithiya has been created as national sales day. Most of the MNCs already know Black Friday, so it’s easy for them to replicate in India.”

The day after Thanksgiving in the US—the fourth Thursday in November–traditionally marks the start of Christmas shopping, much like Navratri heralds the beginning of Diwali shopping in India. It’s the year’s busiest shopping day in the US and latterly Europe as shoppers hunt for bargains, with discounts and deals continuing till Cyber Monday. Shoppers are known to get aggressive as they scramble for early bargains at opening time.

Samsung launched its first Black Friday sales this year in India. The country’s largest retailer Reliance Retail ventured into Black Friday with its Reliance Digital and Ajio platforms. The Tata Group rolled out Black Friday sales at Croma, TataCliq and Tata Neu. Spencer’s Retail, JioMart and several direct-to-consumer (D2C) brands had deals in grocery and daily essentials. Xiaomi, Lenovo and Dell also had Black Friday campaigns.

Others offering Black Friday deals include Uniqlo, H&M, Marks and Spencer, Adidas, Skechers and Puma; ecommerce platforms such as Myntra, Amazon, Flipkart, Nykaa and Freshtohome; restaurants and cafes like Domino’s Pizza and Baskin Robbins; retail chains like Lifestyle International, Shoppers Stop, Pantaloons, Vijay Sales, The Body Shop and Woodland; multiplex chain Inox; travel and hotel companies like Indian Hotels Co. which runs the Taj and Vivanta brands; etc.

Chief executives said Black Friday helps boost sales since the weeks after Diwali are usually a dull phase until Christmas or end-of-season sales around then, and it also helps them improve cash flow by clearing out unsold Diwali inventory.

Vijay Sales managing director Nilesh Gupta said brands and retailers have been trying to create Black Friday sales events in India for the past few years to drum up consumption.

“It will become a big event in the next couple of years as the buzz grows,” he said. The company runs 120 electronics stores.



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