The Malta Independent 23 January 2021, Saturday

TMID Editorial: Black Friday - Good initial indicators

Monday, 30 November 2020, 09:08 Last update: about 3 months ago

Black Friday, or rather Black Week as it turned out being a week-long event, saw many people go online to shop amidst deals offered by various businesses around the islands.

It was, generally speaking, a successful event financially. The Chamber of SMEs said: “Even though initial reactions vary, Black Friday was still exceptional when compared to the rest of the year and sometimes even comparable to last year's Black Friday.”

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Online shopping increased, even dramatically in some cases, the Chamber said. "Apart from this, businesses also reported having additional staff on the shop floor specifically to help manage people and ensure the health guidelines are followed." 

While online shopping increased, there were still crowds gathering at shopping hotspots, and in some cases, perhaps it would have been more prudent not to allow as many people as there were in some shops. Indeed some shopping malls were relatively packed despite Covid-19. This is not to say that restrictions weren’t being observed inside the shops themselves.

It was generally a good idea to spread Black Friday over a week, as this meant that shoppers were more spread out and that Friday itself did not see shops as overwhelmed by crowds as they otherwise would have been.

Businesses were hard-hit by the Covid-19 pandemic, so the news that Black Friday was a success is welcome and hopefully their sales will help sustain them. Everyone is eagerly following the news regarding the Covid-19 vaccine candidates, in the hopes that, come early 2021, vaccines will be made available to the public. Until that day, however, businesses will continue to have a hard time.

As is to be expected, the home electronics sector did very well according to the Chamber of SMEs. Home related businesses also did quite well. “Most of the businesses said that people are spending more time at home and therefore home investments have remained strong."

More people are also unlikely to be going out This Christmas and New Year and thus, while casual clothing seems to have done ok, the Chamber did point out that elegant and occasion wear unfortunately did not fare well.

All eyes now turn to Christmas. While many would have at least started their Christmas shopping through these deals, not everyone has. This means that businesses will, hopefully, see more sales over the coming weeks when compared to the rest of the year. Hopefully they will be able to recuperate certain losses.

Meanwhile, the government had extended the wage supplement, and the revisions which they are making will help those businesses struggling most remain afloat.

As this newsroom has said in the past, businesses need to adapt to the new online reality. When a vaccine does go live, this does not mean that people will return to their shopping habits. An online presence is a must in today’s day and age, and is likely the future for many types of shops.

 

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