Will Nigeria ever have a 'Black Friday'?


Black Friday, the day after thanksgiving is America’s first official day of holiday spending.

Nationwide several retailers would have opened their stores to shoppers as early as 4am or 5am this morning. While in Nigeria and the rest of Africa there isn’t a set date, there are predictable peak spending periods every year.

“If we are trying to make comparisons or draw correlations between certain trends here and the Black Friday in the US, we also have market days where people seek value in their purchasing in some of the markets,” Chukwuka Monye, Partner, Ciuci Consulting told CNBC Africa.


Monye believes that the US Black Friday trend could happen in Nigeria as the country is a consumer economy and Nigerians love to haggle.

“We negotiate everything. If somehow we designate a day as the day you can purchase things and get significant value, a lot of people will jump at it,” he said.

While the term originated in Philadelphia around 1961 to describe heavy pedestrian and vehicle traffic the day after thanksgiving, it has quickly changed and much to the delight of retailers.

“The key thing here is creating an awareness, because the Black Friday we are talking about, what is the history? The history is really tied around the concept of having your books balanced and being in a positive position where they are not in red but black,” he concluded.

Nigerian analysts are quite confident that the notion of black Friday is a real possibility and the retailers support this.

Prakash Keswani, Deputy Managing Director of Artee Group, the owners of Park ‘n Shop told CNBC Africa, “As with anywhere in the world, there are seasons of sales and Nigeria has very well adapted to all the seasons sales. Today, as we’ve seen, there’s always a reason to come out with some promotion activity”.

Like Monye, Keswani also believes that there is a need for a Black Friday in the country as the customers, retailers and the economy could benefit significantly from the activity.

While the idea may have not yet caught up with all the retailers in the country, Konga.Com, Nigeria’s fastest growing online retailer has already introduced the idea in the country’s online space and its CEO Sim Shagaya is taking advantage of the growing online population.

“It has different names everywhere and in Konga, we are calling it the ‘Fall yakata sale’ which is pidgin for the final sale of the year. Black Friday really makes sense and it’s fun for the consumers if everybody does it on the same day.”

Shagaya is sure that as this is happening for the first time in Nigeria, buying and large volumes are expected.

“We think it may be two, three even as much as four times, typical sort of shopping, so it’s going to be really big. It’s going to really test our systems and then get us primed up and warmed up for the rest of December.

In America, Black Friday spending accounts for between 20 and 40 per cent of annual retail revenue and saw a total of 59.1billion dollars in sales over the four day weekend, up 6.7 billion dollar from the previous year. With the concept producing such impressive figures, Nigerian retailers cannot afford to continue missing such a huge opportunity.