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Home / Industry / Retail /  Black Friday deals, now raining down at a sale event near you

Apparel, footwear, accessories and beauty brands in malls and department stores are riding high on the hype around Black Friday—it’s today, but will continue into the weekend at places—offering deep discounts to Indian shoppers.

Whether it’s Future Group’s departmental store Central in Patna offering up to 50% discount, Japanese sports shoes and performance wear brand Asics bundling offers or US apparel brand Beverly Hills Polo Club offering a flat 40% discount; companies are going all out to entice Indians.

In the past few years, online and offline brands in India have made the Black Friday sales concept their own, betting on the US ‘shopping day’ to reel in discount-hungry buyers.

For many brands in the beauty and lifestyle space, this has become a highlight of the year, especially since it follows on the heels of Diwali.

Black Friday marks the start of the Christmas shopping season in the US, where many stores offer huge discounts and open early in the morning or even at midnight to allow customers to line up for launches.

E-commerce marketplace Nykaa introduced its four-day long ‘The Pink Friday Sale’ four years ago and saw huge success, with offers of up to 50% off on many products.

Anchit Nayar, CEO of e-commerce beauty, Nykaa, said the Pink Friday Sale is its flagship event, and this year, it will offer its best-yet curation of Indian and international brands.

Italian make-up brand Kiko Milano is expecting traffic in its stores to triple. For The Body Shop, which has been doing the sale event for the last five years, the day accounts for 30% of its November sales. Since Black Friday occurs towards the end of November, it serves as a spike for the business after Diwali, said Vishal Chaturvedi, vice-president, The Body Shop, South Asia. The company offers up to 50% discount on select products. With more and more brands latching on to the concept, malls are also celebrating it as a pivotal event.

Social media is the key driver for a lot of these companies. “The contextual lines of the event are now blurring. Thanksgiving or no Thanksgiving, people love this weekend. The whole idea started with a flat 50% off scheme on Friday and has now been extended to an entire weekend at our malls," Pushpa Bector, executive director, DLF Retail, said.

Bector said brands realized its value, and this time 40 of them are offering discounts on a curated list of products over the weekend at all premium DLF malls. “This is a very powerful start to the winter sale," she said. This year, DLF malls are expecting a 30-40% increase in footfalls.

A 28-year-old Mumbai food vlogger said the concept of Black Friday was totally alien to her until last year. “I usually only bought products during the end-of-season sales earlier. I like to wait for those if I don’t need to buy things urgently," she said. However, this time she bought personal care products from Nykaa during its Black Friday sales and is pleased with the discounts she got. “There’s a good 20-30% price difference…But frankly, I can’t tell the difference between different kinds of sales," the vlogger, who sought anonymity, said.

Pernia’s Pop-Up Shop, an Indian online and offline retailer for fashion clothing, sees 50% of its business coming from the US alone and another 25% from expat Indians living elsewhere in the world, making the Black Friday sale important to it. Its first Black Friday sale was held three years ago, keeping global audiences in mind, said Abhishek (Monty) Agarwal, founder and director at Purple Style Labs, which operates Pernia’s.

Black Friday drives 20% higher traffic from the US market for the firm. In India, he said, since Diwali is over and the wedding season has begun; many people also end up shopping during this sale. “For India, in general, discounts do attracta certain pie of consumers even post the festive season," he added. This may be true for retailers as Black Friday sales bump up demand during the post-festive season slump.

Amit Wadhwa, CEO at advertising agency Dentsu Creative India, said Black Friday is just another opportunity for a sales spike for marketers. “If you go around asking people the significance of Black Friday, I am sure 95% will have zero clue about it, just like most people have no idea about (the significance of) Halloween or, for that matter, even Valentine’s Day," he said.

Rajat Wahi, partner at Deloitte Consulting India, agreed that in India, it’s still a relatively new concept and, coming straight after Diwali, is still not as big. “Festivities and consumer buying are already over, but it is another way for brands to use another occasion to sell and get in tune with global brands," he said.

On the other hand, since Black Friday is becoming bigger in the West, there are a lot of promotions and even new product line-ups. In India, he added, this has been driven primarily by e-commerce, although offline retail has caught with the trend. He estimates that there could be an 18-20% increase in footfalls in offline retail spaces like malls

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