Black Friday 2023 retail data revealed

With $6 billion in annualised retail volumes going through Tabby, we’re in a unique position to provide leading insights and analysis on Middle East retail. Was Black Friday 2023 a major retail boost or an anticlimactic conclusion to an otherwise strong year for Middle East retail?

Black Friday 2023 retail data revealed
Black Friday Tabby retail data 2023

To accurately show how 2023 performed against 2022, we excluded all Tabby merchants who joined since last December. This left the data from only Tabby merchants who were live and selling in both November 2022 and November 2023.

This allowed us to compare the performance directly between both years.

All data comes from the value of sales made through Tabby.

Overall performance of Pay in 4 over Black Friday month

55.5% year on year (YoY) growth

A 55.5% growth in total sales value shows a healthy increase in flexible payment sales performance between 2022 and 2023, but the data gets more interesting when you look at the daily trend through November in both years.

Sales value in November

When you look at the data on a daily level, the impact of Black Friday seems less focused on the actual Friday itself. This year, Black Friday was only November's 9th highest sales day.

You can also see the impact of Singles Day in the monthly sales cycle, where November is unusual in having a ‘double peak’. You can see from the graph that sales peak up to the 11th and then again at the end of the month.

These observations show the importance of creating a Black Friday sales strategy focusing on the month, not just the singular day.

There was a largely consistent increase between 2022 and 2023 in the days leading up to payday. But from payday (27th), the gap between both years significantly increased. This gave 2023 a strong month-end, possibly aided by Black Friday falling a day earlier, giving shoppers an extra day of deals.

Breakdown of growth between in-store and online sales.

In-store vs Online Black Friday Growth 2023

The graph above shows that the increase in sales value in 2023 mostly came from online sales. This continues the trend of MENA having the fastest ecommerce growth in the world over the last three years.

The growth of in-store Tabby payments should not be ignored. Flexible in-store payment method are relatively young, to see healthy double-digit YoY growth shows the intent of shoppers in the region to use BNPL across multiple channels.

Black Friday growth breakdown by categories

Growth by category

Looking solely at Black Friday week, there are some clear winners and losers this year.

Beauty, Fashion and Home have all increased, which is a good proxy for retail health in general. The second biggest increase in 2023 comes from Sports & Gaming. Gaming in particular has taken off in the region, with Saudia Arabia hosting the gaming festival, Gamers8, earlier this year and is due to host the Global esports games in December 2023. The growing popularity has reflected very positively in Black Friday 2023 sales data.

The largest YoY decrease comes from electronics. This result seems out of place since electronics are the main focus of Cyber Monday, part of Black Friday week. One reason for this could be the highly anticipated release of the iPhone 15 back at the end of September. Pumping up September and October sales at the expense of November.

Category growth by in-store and online sales

Growth by in-store and online sales value

While the increase in Beauty and Fashion has almost exclusively come from increased online sales, it’s interesting to see what categories have bucked the trend.

Home: Entire growth YoY has come from in-store sales. We are seeing a return to brick-and-mortar shopping for higher-value home items. Shoppers want to see the product with their own eyes before purchasing.

Books and stationary: Despite a reduction in overall YoY sales, in-store sales have grown. This makes sense when you think of how shoppers buy books. Half the enjoyment of buying a new book is browsing the aisle, reading blurb after blurb before settling on a title you’re happy with. It seems that trend is coming back.

Travel and Transport: Perhaps the most surprising results of the entire analysis. After years of seeing the rise of booking apps, are we finally seeing the return of in-person travel agents?

The average order value 2023 trend

When we look at the average order value (AOV) it adds an interesting layer. Only five out of thirteen categories experienced an increase in AOV over Black Friday 2023 and there doesn’t seem to be any obvious correlation.

Compare your average order value with the Tabby average

We have established that shoppers are spending more money through Tabby in 2023. But it seems that they are using Tabby as a payment option more frequently, but buying at a slightly lower basket value.

This somewhat validates our previous theory that shoppers are using Pay in 4 for a wider range of goods than this time last year. Integrating Tabby into your checkout can help increase your average order value by up to 59%, but we’ve seen over the last year that instead of saving payment plans exclusively for high value luxury goods, shoppers are choosing to manage their finances throughout the month by spreading payments over a larger number of purchases.

How does your average order number compare to the Tabby average in your industry?

What can we learn from the data?

Although mostly positive, the year-on-year results of one of the biggest sales seasons uncovered a few interesting anomalies.

With 2024 just around the corner, what can we learn from this 2023 analysis?

  1. Pay in 4 is still on a steep adoption trajectory
    Our Black Friday data shows that BNPL is growing faster than industry sales, which means more and more shoppers are choosing to use BNPL both online and in-store.
  2. The MENA ecommerce machine continues
    Ecommerce growth shows no signs of slowing down in the region. The Black Friday data confirmed that online BNPL sales are still growing rapidly.
  3. Prepare an omnichannel approach
    Online is still king of sales around Black Friday, but brick-and-mortar pay later sales are becoming an important part of merchant revenue. Shoppers enjoy consistent payment methods between channels, so prepare your store for an omnichannel approach.

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