Black Friday Sales in Pakistan

Pakistan saw its first Black Friday sales this year. These retail sales were on at both brick-and-mortar stores and e-tailers like There were also media reports indicating similar sales in the UK and other countries as well.  For those unfamiliar with Black Friday, let me explain what it is.

Black Friday, a day of mega sales by retailers, follows Thanksgiving Day in America. Black Friday marks the start of the annual Christmas shopping season that accounts for about half the annual retail revenue and much of the profits earned by US retailers.

Thanksgiving is a quintessential American holiday that commemorates the arrival of European "Pilgrims" fleeing religious persecution across the Atlantic. It is celebrated with a dinner of turkey, cranberries and corn that made up the feast offered by native Americans, also known as American Indians, to welcome the hungry and tired Europeans in this continent of North America. President Barack Obama used the occasion to remind today's Americans of their duty to welcome those who are fleeing persecution in Syria and elsewhere in the Middle East. Here's what the President said:

“Nearly four centuries after the Mayflower set sail, the world is still full of pilgrims – men and women who want nothing more than the chance for a safer, better future for themselves and their families. What makes America America is that we offer that chance. We turn Lady Liberty’s light to the world, and widen our circle of concern to say that all God’s children are worthy of our compassion and care. That’s part of what makes this the greatest country on Earth.”

So what do many American shoppers do on Black Friday? They mob the shopping malls and the brick-and-mortar stores as they open very early on Friday morning following Thanksgiving holiday to snap up bargains. Overzealous shoppers are known to knock down and trample other shoppers as they race to take advantage of bargain basement prices on items such as new apparel, consumer electronics and toys. With the rise of e-commerce, many American shoppers now prefer to take advantage of Black Friday sales offered by popular e-tailers like The e-commerce sites usually have such Black Friday sales continue beyond a single day.

This year, Pakistan's e-tailer offered Black Friday bargains to Pakistani shoppers. partnered with several companies including PTCL, Ponds, Mediatek, InnJoo and Easypay. EasyPay is the official payment partner, offering an additional 25 per cent discount on products to customers who use Easypay on Black Friday.  There were category discounts as high as 63 per cent on smartphones, 50 per cent on computers and 70 per cent on fashion and accessories on offer at Daraz, according to Express Tribune newspaper.

In addition to e-commerce sites, there was also a report in England's "The Daily Mirror" about "Lahori aunties going mad" on Black Friday at a fabric store in Lahore.

To the dismay of many, American style consumerism is finding broad acceptance among the middle class consumers across the world, including developing countries like Pakistan. Is this wise? Is it sustainable? How would it affect our future? I'll leave these questions for the readers to answer for themselves.

Amir Khan Under Fire Over "Intolerance" in India; Black Friday in Pakistan; Russia-Turkey Conflict in Syria; PPP's Asim Husain C from WBT Productions on Vimeo.

Related Links:

Haq's Musings

E-Commerce in Pakistan

High-Tech Investments in Pakistan

Upwardly Mobile Pakistan's Appetite For International Brands

Pakistan Middle Class Grows to 55%

South Asia's Rising Consumption; Depleting Resources

Syrians Flee Persecution


Riaz Haq said…
Post-#BlackFriday: In #Pakistan, #ecommerce entering a new era with big-ticket items sales to rural customers …

Not long ago, e-commerce in Pakistan was primarily related to online sales of smartphones, laptops and fashion apparel and almost all online retail sales were generated from Karachi, Lahore and Islamabad – the largest urban centres constituting major markets for e-commerce even today.

Fast forward to 2015, Pakistan’s e-commerce sector held the country’s first ever ‘Black Friday’ in the last week of November. The industry noticed people buying washing machines and televisions online with orders coming from as far as Tando Allahyar. The rural town, as opposed to a daily average of one, placed 50 orders on, a major player, which had 40,000 people on its website when the deal started at midnight (the night between Thursday and Friday).

According to major market players, one-third of the total Black Friday transactions were online – a major shift in the consumer habit from cash-on-delivery (CoD), which still accounts for more than 95% of Pakistan’s e-commerce that has already surpassed the $100 million milestone. These Black Friday trends indicate e-commerce in Pakistan is certainly picking up.

According to industry experts, e-commerce follows a four-phase growth cycle from infancy to maturity in any new region. Some say China has entered the third phase while India is close to finishing the second.

However, when it comes to Pakistan, many say the country’s e-commerce is still in its infancy. But a successful Black Friday, which received an overwhelming response from consumers across Pakistan, certainly merits a question: is the country’s e-commerce entering level two?

“Absolutely, Pakistan’s ecommerce is entering the second phase,” says Saman Javed, Head of Communications and PR at Daraz, which started Black Friday sales and invested heavily in its marketing for consumer awareness.

“One-third of the payments were online, which indicates a shift in consumers’ attitude who now trust online payment system,” Javed said, adding the response was beyond the company’s expectations, which shows the demand people have here is almost similar to elsewhere in the world.

Though it didn’t disclose sales figures, Daraz said it offered Rs132 million in discounts during Black Friday sales when 1.5 million people visited its website.

Another factor indicating an overwhelming consumer response was the websites of and – which attracted almost all the traffic on November 27 – went down immediately after the sale began.

“We witnessed something we have never seen before,” Shayaan Tahir of Homeshopping said, adding there were 1,000 people on their page at a single point in time. “It will be even bigger next year.”

Homeshopping sold Rs5.6 million worth of iPhones at more than one phone per minute during the first hour of its ‘White Friday’ sale before running out of stock. The company sold 45 units iPhone 6 Plus and 25 units of iPhone 6. This is in addition to 100 units of smartwatch sold by the online retailer.

By contrast, iPhone deal on Daraz was sold out within minutes and many consumers complained over being left out. The traffic was insane and not everyone could get what they wanted, says Javed. It’s a global trend where people fight for the best deals that sell out in minutes, she added.

While smartphones remained the top-selling category on all major platforms, other sectors were also impressive. Daraz says it had record-breaking sales for fashion while home appliances brands, such as Kenwood and Dawlance were also amongst the top sellers. On the other hand, TVs were among top selling categories at Homeshopping.
Riaz Haq said…
Samwers Peddle iPhones in #Pakistan for Emerging Market Lead. #BlackFriday #ecommerce via @technology

When Rocket’s shopping site Daraz held a Black Friday sale in Pakistan, orders jumped 55-fold compared to regular days, with rebated Apple Inc. Iphone 6s handsets selling out in five minutes. The same day, Rocket’s African shopping site Jumia had 35,000 orders mainly from Nigerian customers, with one in four of them new to the platform.
Rocket, which has already built up online retailers in countries including Indonesia, Nigeria and Pakistan, plans to expand further in Africa and Southeast Asia in a bet that young and growing populations, rising Internet and smartphone use and a widening middle class will fuel revenue growth and eventually profit. The Berlin-based company -- founded by Oliver, Marc and Alexander Samwer -- needs these regions to grow because unlike Inc. in the U.S. and Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. in China, Rocket doesn’t dominate one large home market.
Riaz Haq said…
#Tesco tests waters in #Pakistan with Alpha #Supermarkets tie-up. Plans 50+ stores via @Reuters

Britain's biggest retailer Tesco (TSCO.L) will stock its products at a Pakistani supermarket chain, a Tesco official said on Thursday, dipping its toes in a country of nearly 200 million with rising consumer spending and a growing middle class.

Tesco has been expanding rapidly in emerging markets to bolster sluggish growth in western Europe and is among a growing band of companies attracted by Pakistan's fast-growing consumer market, encouraged by the highest economic growth since 2008 and improved security.

"We have agreed on a wholesale partnership with Alpha Supermarkets in Pakistan, under which Tesco products will be stocked at two of its stores," Jared Lebel, head of new market development at Tesco, told Reuters.

He said that Limestone Private Limited, which owns the Alpha Superstores chain, planned to open 50 smaller express stores and four Alpha stores stocking Tesco products within the next three years.

"We are excited about Pakistan as a market," Lebel said. "A big factor in coming to Pakistan is rising consumer spending."

A spokesman for Tesco in London said: "We're looking forward to seeing how customers respond."

Fauzia Khuhro, head of business development at Limestone, told Reuters that Tesco products would hit its shelves in about 10 days.

"Alpha Supermarkets will be the only retailer in Pakistan that stocks Tesco private-label products," Khuhro said. "We will offer a complete range of Tesco product categories, from food and non-food items to frozen and fresh foods."

Tesco's partnership with Alpha Supermarkets was announced by British High Commissioner Thomas Drew and Limestone at a press briefing in Karachi on Tuesday.

Riaz Haq said…
#Alibaba's online payment service #Alipay to launch in #Pakistan very soon, Anusha Rehman. #PayPal via @techjuicepk

Minister of Information and Technology Anusha Rehman has today announced that Alipay will be working in Pakistan very soon. She was speaking at the National Competition of Final Year Projects at Islamabad. The event was organized by National ICT R&D Fund.

While speaking with the winners and participants of the event at the closing ceremony, Anusha Rehman reiterated the mission of Pakistan’s Government to connect the unconnected population of Pakistan with Internet and technology. She mentioned that Prime Minister of Pakistan has recently signed a MoU with Alibaba, the ecommerce giant of China. She added that Alipay, another venture of Alibaba, for online payments will soon be available in Pakistan.

For the uninitiated, Alipay is a third-party online payment solution. The platform has the biggest share in China’s market and most of the online payments in China are processed by Alipay.

Alipay is a venture of AliBaba Group which means that the recent collaboration between Government and AliBaba will finally pave the way for an online payment platform in Pakistan.

An online payment solution will mean huge growth and transactions influx in the ecommerce industry of Pakistan. Previously, Anusha Rehman has been quoted as saying that the government is working hard to bring Paypal and Amazon to the country but nothing could materialize on that end.

With the ever growing friendship between Pakistan and China, it seems that if not Paypal, Alipay will be available in the country very soon.
Riaz Haq said…
#Pakistan-based apparel #fashion label Sana Safinaz's #cloud-based e-tail solution featured in Magento case study …

For Sana Safinaz, Pakistan’s leading fashion brand, March is the start of the summer season, and the fashion industry’s hectic ‘lawn season.’ ­According to the Hindustan Times: “Lawn is the name Pakistanis use to refer to the brightly colored cotton fabric sold in stitched and unstitched form in a myriad of hues, to an eager set of buyers who will sometimes go to great lengths to get their favourite suit pieces.” During this peak season, shopping malls are overwhelmed with customers. “Compared to normal trading days at our brick and mortar stores, the footfall during collection launches increases 600 percent,” reveals Sana Safinaz’s Haris Ahmed, their Head of Retail Business. You can only imagine the impact of traffic on the brand’s website.
“Our website goes crazy,” says Moeed Ahmed of the Sana Safinaz Digital Business team. “Brand collection launches during the lawn season are met with an abnormal spike in traffic,” adds Tariq Siddiqui, the brand’s Manager of Digital Business. “Across the whole industry it’s rare to find a site that has the infrastructure to successfully handle a surge without affecting customer experience.” Adding to their traffic is the company’s regular investment in highly-optimized Google search/adwords campaigns, that generates almost 35 percent of their total traffic. With the spotlight on Sana Safinaz this summer season, and the eCommerce business becoming a high percentage of the company’s total inventory, their site had to perform. Oh, and they only had a month before launch. Naturally, they chose Magento Commerce.

Sana Safinaz got to work straight away with their local development partner, Webwork Solution (Pvt.) Ltd. They chose Magento Commerce (formerly Magento Enterprise Cloud Edition), so they would never have to worry about servers and traffic spikes again. They also wanted to beat their competition by capitalizing on the rich core functionalities of Magento Commerce, and its highly effective marketing/segmentation modules. The team broke the project into two phases: Phase one included the “must have” features like order fulfillment and integration with their Point of Sale system. Phase two focused on additional capabilities like social media extensions to generate additional sales through social platforms, along with other site feature deployments.
With Magento, the Sana Safinaz team spent their time improving site structure and user experience, rather than panicking about IT and site crashes. With a cloud solution built on AWS, they knew their new Magento Commerce site could handle the crazy traffic that was about to hit.

The moment of truth arrived on March 3, 2017. Across Pakistan, the lawn season had begun, and millions of Pakistani women were hustling to buy their ultimate summer outfit. The Sana Safinaz site went live, and on the first day it processed more than 5,000 orders. Before Magento Commerce, the most orders ever processed on a single day was 1,000. As page views increased by 87 percent, their customers were raving on social media: “We were able to place orders so smoothly,” wrote one customer, “Never had this with other brands.”
Riaz Haq said…
135 Million Millennials Drive World's Fastest Retail Market

Middle class expected to surpass U.K., Italy over 2016-21
Faseeh Mangi
September 28, 2017, 1:00 PM PDT

Nearly two-thirds of Pakistan population under 30 years old
Pakistan’s retail stores forecast to grow by 50% in 5 years
Pakistan’s burgeoning youth and their freewheeling attitude toward rising incomes have turned the nation into the world's fastest growing retail market.

The market is predicted to expand 8.2 percent per annum through 2016-2021 as disposable income has doubled since 2010, according to research group Euromonitor International. The size of the middle class is estimated to surpass that of the U.K. and Italy in the forecast period, it said.

Pakistan's improving security environment, economic expansion at near 5 percent and cheap consumer prices are driving shoppers to spend up big. Almost two-thirds of the nation's 207.8 million people are aged under 30, according to the Jinnah Institute, an Islamabad-based think tank.

“We have a new millennial shopper at hand. They don’t mind spending to have the kind of lifestyle they would like,” said Shabori Das, senior research analyst at Euromonitor. “It’s not like the Baby Boomer generation where savings for the future generation was important.”

Pakistan is bucking the trend in the U.S. -- where stores are closing at a record pace as e-commerce undermines bricks-and-mortar. It's also attracting foreign operators: Turkish home appliance maker Arcelik AS and Dutch dairy giant Royal FrieslandCampina NV entered the market last year via acquisitions. Meanwhile, Hyundai Motor Co., Kia Motors Corp. and Renault SA are all building plants in the South Asian nation.

Pakistan’s retail stores are expected to increase by 50 percent to 1 million outlets in the five years through 2021, Euromonitor said. Its three biggest malls, Lucky One in Karachi and Packages Mall and Emporium Mall in Lahore, opened in the past two years.

Pakistan is mirroring what India went through about four years ago. Both countries have young populations with more income and less inclination toward saving which is a distinct difference to what retailers elsewhere are dealing with, said Das.

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