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One in three Indian shoppers ready to queue up overnight for Black Friday bargains

Ananya Bhattacharya
People shop during the Black Friday sales shopping event at Roosevelt Field Mall in Garden City, New York

‘Tis the season for holiday sales and Indians have their eyes peeled.

Black Friday (Nov. 29) is set to be bigger than ever in India with internet search interest at an all-time high, according to a new report from Finder, a firm that compares websites.

Black Friday, an American concept, is the Friday following Thanksgiving Day when retailers offer huge discounts. The name was coined by the US police after crowds of shoppers caused traffic accidents and sometimes even violence during what is now the busiest retail holiday.

For Indians, the sale is a fairly recent addition to the second half of the year, following bumper Diwali offers.

Search volume for the term “Black Friday” is up 22% in India this year compared to 2016, the Australian firm’s analysis of two Google polls of 2,000 Indian respondents and SEMrush and Ahrefs search data revealed.

More than 56% of those surveyed plan to shop during the sales event.

Experts aren’t convinced about the authenticity of the event here, though. “It’s nothing but lazy marketing—just copy something and try to paste it here. Another example is end-of-season sales. In India, who buys clothes according to autumn, winter, summer and spring? Nobody does. They (brands) are completely removed from the ground reality of how India works and that’s where people like Reliance, W, and Future Group are doing well,” Harminder Sahni, founder and managing director, Wazir Advisors, told the Mint newspaper.

But Indians are lapping it up anyway.

There was a high search interest for iPhones, PlayStation4, and MP3s in India. While tech was the top category of interest, people also searched for movies, streaming, books, and games.

American retailers rank higher in searches related to Black Friday in India, with homegrown e-tailer Flipkart coming in further down the list.

But online isn’t where most of the action is. “You can expect the streets to be busy come Nov. 29,” said Susannah Binsted, spokesperson at Finder, pointing out that just over one-fifth of shoppers (22%) said they will only shop online. Most Indians intend to actually visit brick-and-mortar stores.

 

“The good news is you can save a lot of money if you’re prepared and do your homework,” Binsted says. But Indians aren’t entirely convinced.

While many Indians think Black Friday deals are a good value for money, around 10% of respondents disagree. Half of those who see no value, think retailers inflate prices before discounting them and the rest say that the products they want aren’t discounted.

Here are some of Finder’s top tips for Black Friday shoppers are:

  • Score early deals to get the first pick of stock without the hassle of fighting the crowds.
  • Compare your options—retail prices and discount amounts—at multiple retailers.
  • Know the return policy in case you get caught up trying to secure a bargain and end up buying the wrong thing or something you didn’t need in the first place.
  • Use the right credit card for reward points and cashback.

Happy shopping!

 

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