Black Friday: Why Latin American discounts are fake?

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In Latin America, the tempting discounts that allow you to buy things at a fraction of their price are not the rule, they are the exception

Black Friday: Why Latin American discounts are not so good?

Traditionally, Black Friday is celebrated in the United States after Thanksgiving and is a date dedicated to consumption. This tradition has meant that every year thousands of buyers gather around stores and shopping centers, camping and waiting for the doors to open to take advantage of the great discounts on products of all kinds.

Leer en español: Black Friday: ¿Por qué los descuentos en América Latina no son tan buenos?

This marketing opportunity has spread in different contexts around the world, which has made Black Friday stop being essentially American to become a global phenomenon, with each market trying to include these new alternatives within their own markets.

Hand in hand with Black Friday, and in a much more recent context, came Cyber Monday. This is an initiative that initially sought to get rid of the remaining Black Friday units through the internet. However, the growing popularity of online shopping has made Cyber Monday a very desirable day. In Latin America, Black Friday and Cyber Monday are a tradition that still has not settled, although experts say that year after year buyers are more likely to consume on these dates.

According to a study conducted by Visa Consulting & Analytics (VCA), Latin Americans are spending more and more on online purchases. In relation to 2016, purchases made grew by 12%, which ensures stable growth for those who offer their products and discounts on these dates. However, why do Latin American buyers feel that the discounts are not so good, really?

Discounts that do not surprise

This is a discussion that involves many factors and that has spread in different areas, not only in Latin America. Facing the Black Friday of 2018, two Spanish consumer organizations, the OCU and the Facua, published studies where they reveal that the fluctuation of prices, at least in Spain, are not so different from those of the normal market and that the discounts sometimes do not reflect the lowest price at which that product has been offered.

However, this presentation of the facts can be biased to the extent that the commercial dynamics of days such as Black Friday and Cyber Monday are unknown. The point is not only the discounts and the possibility of finding items at very low prices, but the suggestion that means putting a temporary barrier for buyers. The fact that it is a certain time makes people willing to buy focus on doing it at this time, instead of at any other time of the year.

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To this discussion is also added the phenomenon of globalization and how Cyber Monday is slowly overtaking Black Friday in general, and in Latin American countries in particular, with Chile, Argentina and Colombia at the head, according to VCA. The possibility that buyers have access to a large number of products, regardless of their place of origin or the restrictions of their market, means that dates like these do not focus on the possibility of obtaining new products but on possible discounts of them.

Little interest, few discounts

Once again, the question arises: why are there not such good discounts in Latin America? The answer is also found in a situation that involves both the buyers and the companies involved: the willingness to buy in large quantities. Latin America is not a region that is characterized by bulky expenses in a single purchase, as it usually happens in the United States.

This makes the stores choose to offer low discounts or offer them from a certain number of purchases, which does not differ much from the North American reality but it does affect the way in which Latin Americans see Black Friday. For now, initiatives such as Black Friday, Cyber Monday, Cyber Week, Hot Monday or Buen Fin (Mexican name for this weekend) continue to be a way to group customers around products.

The purpose of this initiative is to call new buyers to be interested from a small discount, but in a context that no longer responds to the large camps that year after year made American citizens in search of the best products that, in another era, they were impossible to achieve otherwise.


LatinAmerican Post | Jorge Ovalle

Translated from "¿Por qué los descuentos en América Latina no son tan buenos?"