Born in the United States, explanations diverge about the origins of this extraordinary day, both for sellers and buyers
I am talking about Black Friday, which is taking on an increasing importance in Israel.
Black Friday comes after Thanksgiving Thursday, which commemorates the first help provided by the Amerindians to European settlers.
Why this strange name, “Black Friday” ?
As Co-founder of Zabilo.com, an Israeli eCommerce company, I had did my own research on the origins of Black Friday, and its place in Israel.
In the United States, merchants were going through a difficult period before Christmas and New Year’s Eve.
The date came up during the weekend after Thanksgiving Thursday, when Americans had time with family and took the opportunity to go out on the streets to shop.
In their books, traders wrote “minus” in red ink and “plus” in black ink.
The Friday after Thanksgiving, the whole notebook was black, hence the term Black Friday.
In the 1960s, Philadelphia police officers in the United States adopted this expression to talk about “black” traffic on US roads during the extended weekend of Thanksgiving, Black Friday.
Today, in more and more countries, for days or even weeks in November, black advertising banners are invading stores, streets and e-commerce sites.
And Israel is no exception to the rule.
It is at this time of the year that we find significant price reductions, sometimes up to 80% to 90%!
Mailboxes, electronic or physical, are full of these promotional flyers or promotional newsletters, mostly black so that the customer (or prospect in jargon) immediately recognizes the Black Friday promotion.
Black Friday in Israel, 2019
Each country has a distinct buying culture.
What are the particularities of the Israeli buyer?
My experience as an e-trader at the Israeli Zabilo.com showed me the following things:
- The notion of promotion is fundamental in the decision to buy for Israelis, even if there are promotions all the time. It may seem paradoxical but, in the background, this behavior shows great similarities with the love of the French people (I’m one of them) for websites like Vente-Privée or BrandAlley. For this reason, we can see promotions everywhere and all the time, from Black Friday to Jewish New Year through Spring Promo.
- In Israel in 2018, the eCommerce market weighs in at $3.355 billion for only 8.7 million people with annual growth of more than 12% (against 8.5% in France for example). Thus, the eCommerce market in Israel will represent $5.321 billion in 2022. The adoption of eCommerce reflexes and the digital transition in the behavior of Israelis is spectacular and buyers seem more delighted with progress than frightened.
- Confidence in buying on the internet is impressive. Culturally, the bank card is used much more easily than in France where I lived. When shopping in the store, the card is simply dragged into the device, no code is requested at checkout (in France one has to type the code until recently with the no-contact checkout, for shopping up to 20e). You decide to order sushi? You will give all the figures of your credit card (yes even the back) to the restaurant, on the phone. In addition, Israelis are showing more and more enthusiasm for internet purchases from their smartphone (a practice called mCommerce).
- While this method raised passionate debates in France (I am referring to the hypermarket Casino during its announcement in April 2018 to answer the problem of the end of the month difficulty in the chain), it is a part of the everyday life of the Israelis. Of course, I am talking about payments in installments without fees. A TV does not cost 6,000 shekels (1427 euros) but 250 shekels (59 euros) per month for 24 months. Of course, it creates temptation and modifies decision-making. Compulsive shopping is thus encouraged. This is one of the reasons for the explosion of eCommerce in Israel and at the same time, problems of over-indebtedness, a plague in Israel aggravated by hyper-consumption.
- With a little more lightness, I see this cultural element with as the premise of a word that is hard to translate: the “fryer.” The nearest translation would be “pigeon,” the one who is always having, who is never on the right shots. Israelis all have family or friends in Europe, the United States, Australia or Asia. For this reason, they are afraid to be “fryer”: to work as much and earn less, to pay as much and to have less.
- Between Israelis, life is a race in which the last to arrive is the “fryer.” The internet is no exception to this rule and Israeli consumers are always on the lookout for better and cheaper deals than the boyfriend or neighbor. Black Friday is the perfect time to show you know how to do good business. The Israeli traders understood this perfectly and started their Black Friday sales well before the date, to finish them well after.
Tips from professionals to make the most of Black Friday in Israel
If you have some shopping to do, do it in the morning because the stocks are updated in the morning.
You will probably have more choices and less bad surprises.
Sign up for the newsletters of the sites that interest you for a simple reason: in Israel, Black Friday starts when a site decides to start.
Like in an old Western movie, all eCommerce sites are ready weeks before the date and as soon as a first site “draws,” the beginning of the festivities are declared throughout the country.
E-merchants also do not want to be fryer!
The best deals for Black Friday are not in Israel.
With one exception: heavy products subject to extremely high customs control fees.
Finally, if you want to take advantage of Black Friday 2019 to replace your appliances in Israel, buy them in Israel and enjoy using the internet to compare prices, customer reviews and guarantees.