ABSA Bank reports brisk sales for November

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ABSA Bank is reporting a brisk sales month so far in November. This is in light of the Black Friday season. The bank reports that it has seen a 16% increase in the volume of sales transactions processed through its payment systems during the month, compared to the same period last year.

The Bank says that, given retailers’ strategy of discounting throughout the month, it’s turned out to be more of a Black November than a specific Black Friday event.

November has seen customers flexing their debit and credit cards to take advantage of the month-long sales on offer from retailers. Due to a number of retailers’ strategies to offer discounts throughout the month, customers were out grabbing their bargains early on.

Executive for Payments Acceptance at ABSA Vish Chetty says, “We’ve seen customers transacting as early as 1 November, so I think it has been more of a black November as opposed to just a bf running up to Cyber Monday. It was also good to see that e-commerce transactions have increased. We’ve seen a 20% increase across the industry in your card not present, in your online virtual payment acceptance and this is a testament to the systems out there, the trust, the customer experience as well as convenience to payments.”

Video: Black Friday – ABSA Bank records 16% surge in sales transaction volumes

There is little doubt that consumers remain under pressure given the high inflation and interest rate environment. But Absa says that on the face of it, recent retail activity looks positive.

“What’s comforting to see is that our economy’s starting to turn. It’s been really tough on both consumers as well as our customers, but providing frictionless payment acceptance has almost helped the merchants and customers…to start purchasing goods and services much more easier and I think customers, despite being really tough in the economy, have looked forward to these specials and I think that’s why we’ve seen activity from the 1st November and not just concentrated on Black Friday because the retailers and the merchants have been running specials for the entire month, giving customers an opportunity to purchase goods and services at discounted prices,” Chetty adds.

It’s little surprise that consumers took advantage of the discounted sales, given the pressure on household incomes. But the Reserve Bank has warned that while households’ disposable income has grown, it’s been at a slower pace.

The combination of this and an aversion to taking on more debt in a high interest rate environment may lead to a more selective approach to purchasing, as retailers will no longer discount goods and services.