According to Stats SA, the main contributors to the 2.4% increase were retailers in textiles, clothing, footwear and leather goods. These contributed 0.8 of a percentage point, where all 'other' retailers contributed 0.7 of a percentage point and general dealers contributed 0.5 of a percentage point.

More specifically, the largest annual growth rates recorded in June 2019 included:
  • retailers in household furniture, appliances and equipment (5.2%)
  • retailers in textiles, clothing, footwear and leather goods (4.8%)
Planning for Q4 and the Christmas buying season includes having a sales calendar scheduling enough time for the key dates ahead. The run-up to the Festive season sales can start as early as Boss's Day, which falls on Wednesday 16 October.

Having unusual, well-priced specials advertised from the beginning of October will bring customers into the sales funnel area early and the old adage that 'the money is in the list' remains true.

Social media competitions are a strategic way to encourage people to share their email addresses or cell phone numbers. Then, as potential customers, they can be targeted via omnichannel platforms for the next key sales dates. This is something NetFlorist does well.
"Social is the new shop window — the place that consumers browse to find ideas and inspiration." — Deloitte Retail Trends 2019.
Other important dates to plan ahead for on the marketing calendar are:
  • Diwali — around Sunday, 27 October or Monday, 28 October: There are different types of opportunities for retailers before Diwali as it is a time of spring cleaning and celebration. Sales could be around lighting, home decor, fireworks, gifts, food and sweet treats.
  • Halloween — Thursday 31 October: There is more uptake for Halloween in South Africa and it was big on social media locally last year. This is another chance to run a fun (starting early) competition to entice potential customers, even if there's no 'hard sell' of products.
  • Single's Day — Monday, 11 November: The first of the huge global shopping events. Since the first Single's Day in China (Guanggun Jie), it has become the largest e-commerce event in the world. Last year Alibaba broke sales records, generating $30.8-billion in 24 hours.
The specific date was chosen because the number 1 symbolises a single person and 11 (November) two people finding each other. In South Africa it's catching fire, with online brands such as Zando getting it right by providing a positive call to action (well - call to shopping) of Affirmation, Action, Reinvention.
"Global shoppers buy earlier throughout Black Week — 50% of holiday shopping was complete by Monday, 3 December 2018." — Kate Walters, Exec Planning Director, Swirl McGarryBowen.

Black Friday

Last year our local Black Friday was described by the media as a 'buying frenzy'. Websites were crashing under the strain of deals and keen customers. Data from Absa Bank highlights that two out of three South African consumers participated in Black Friday shopping at some point. This indicates that this is a massive opportunity for retailers.

Research also shows consumers are holding back on buying durable goods and waiting for Black Friday specials. According to BankservAfrica Economic Transaction Index (BETI), retail sales over the Black Friday and Cyber Monday period most likely 'saved' the South African economy in November.

Small Business Saturday

Small Business Saturday takes place on Saturday, 30 November. This is a great day for small businesses to begin creating hype around months before. The event was created by American Express in 2010. It falls in between the Black Friday and Cyber Monday heavyweights — the ideal time to showcase bespoke local products, catching the more discerning shoppers.
"From the 2017 to the 2018 holiday season, mobile-first shoppers grew by 22%." — Facebook Holiday Marketing Guide 2019.

Cyber Monday

Cyber Monday takes place on Monday, 2 December. $7.9-billion was spent on this day in 2018 (19.3% up from 2017, so it's likely this year will see the same kind of traction). In South Africa, according to the BETI report, there was 36.4% growth in online sales for Cyber Monday.

Green Monday

Green Monday takes place on Monday, 9 December. In 2007, eBay came up with Green Monday, which is held on the second Monday of December. It's basically a reminder to buy Christmas Gifts. As the name suggests, there could be some fun branding around this date, especially around the green colour and with products that are aligned with 'green' in terms of being eco-friendly.

Free Shipping Day

Free Shipping Day takes place on Saturday, 14 December. Falling on the second last weekend before Christmas, this global event encourages online stores to have free shipping. As marketing professional Giedre Kronberga says, "It's yet another try to keep customers shopping after the Black Friday — Cyber Monday craze is over." 

It's a noteworthy day on the Festive season sales calendar, as free delivery is one of the key incentives to online shopping. In fact, statistics show nine out of 10 customers consider free shipping the topmost incentive to shop online.

While a significant amount of the upcoming sales focus will be online, it is also worth making the bricks and mortar customer experience inviting by having great specials on offer.

According to e-commerce, "42% of United States holiday shoppers said that they shopped in-store for the holiday ambiance, and 27% of United States holiday shoppers said they shopped in-store to spend time with family." 

Locally, families who haven't got the cash to go on holiday often find shopping in-store a pleasurable way to spend time together. With this in mind, family themed events could be a sales magnet for retailers. Instead of the best debit order, may the best Festive season promotion win.

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