Black Friday is a $74 billion retail opportunity for MENA

24 October 2023 2 min. read
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In the retail landscape of the Middle East and North Africa (MENA), this year’s Black Friday is set to potentially be a $74 billion opportunity. Despite this impressive projection, Black Friday online sales are expected to be lower than the overall average of online sales.

Black Friday sales appear to be stablizing in the MENA region, but the spending bonanza will still be significant, according to research from management consulting firm Redseer. Last year, the FIFA World Cup in Qatar had a hand in boosting sales, but this time around, things are expected to be tamer.

MENA Black Friday Retail Evolution

The research indicates that many people are not waiting for Black Friday anymore – instead, they shop proactively all year round. While last year’s Black Friday sales saw a boost of 14% from the previous year, this year’s growth will only be half that number at 7%.

Online Black Friday sales will be up 18% from last year, though that is below the overall retail sales increases of 25% as compared with last year. Cyber Monday, a day of sales that falls on the Monday after Thanksgiving (initially concepted as a day for online retailers the podium to shine), has gathered significant steam since the maturation of e-commerce over the past 20 years.

Fashion sales are expected to surpass electronics sales this year, a first for Black Friday in the MENA region. The sales day has always conjured images of hoards of shoppers fighting over everything from televisions to toasters or laptops to computer games. With fashion now projected to be a bigger area this year, it might signal a transformation in MENA’s retail landscape with a shift away from the focus on the electronics market for this annual sales day.

UAE Online Black Friday - Sector GMV Split in %

“There has been a notable shift in consumer buying behavior, with a growing preference for quality experiences. The overall significance of Black Friday is diminishing, as consumers are increasingly seeking sales and promotions year-round,” said Sandeep Ganediwalla, a partner at Redseer.

Originating in the United States as a post-Thanksgiving retail bonanza, Black Friday sales have in the past 20 years transcended borders, becoming a global phenomenon. Though sales last year on Black Friday mostly returned to normal from the pandemic lows, the burn of rising inflation prevented some from spending too much.

Despite this year’s stabilization forecasted by Redseer, Black Friday had seen huge success in MENA since it was first imported into the region in 2014. The first year of the annual sales event saw an explosion of e-commerce sales, with some major marketing magic from, the Middle East’s homegrown counterpart of Amazon.