Pakistani shoppers set to be introduced to Black Friday

Published: September 23, 2015
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Pakistan's $232 billion economy is on track for its fastest pace of annual expansion since 2008. PHOTO: MYRA IQBAL/EXPRESS

Pakistan's $232 billion economy is on track for its fastest pace of annual expansion since 2008. PHOTO: MYRA IQBAL/EXPRESS

Pakistan’s shoppers are set to be introduced to a local version of the year-end American sales binge known as Black Friday, Bloomberg Business reported on Wednesday.

“It doesn’t matter that Black Friday is an American invention,” said Bjarke Mikkelsen, co-chief executive officer of Daraz, the online retailer backed by the brothers’ incubatorRocket Internet SE. Daraz — operating in Pakistan, Myanmar and Bangladesh.

“We will team with brands and advertisers to offer hundreds of deals on November 27,” he added, saying that it will partner with Easypay, the mobile payment service offered in Pakistan by Norwegian wireless carrier Telenor ASA.

“It’s a shopping event that was created in the Western world,” Mikkelsen, a former Goldman Sachs Group Inc investment banker, said in an interview while adding that “It’s a way of attracting many people with great deals and big marketing.”

Read: E-commerce growth: Proving to be a steady breadwinner

Daraz, the three-year-old company, is getting more funding to bankroll the efforts. Earlier this week, Daraz said it raised 50 million euros, including 20 million euros from CDC Group, a British government-owned investor trying to create jobs in Africa and South Asia. The rest came from Asia Pacific Internet Group, Rocket’s joint venture with Qatar mobile carrier Ooredoo QSC.

Taking a leaf out of Amazon.com Inc’s page, together with Alibaba Group Holding Ltd, Daraz have demonstrated how hefty one-time discounts and exclusive merchandise can get American and Chinese bargain-hunters to spend billions of dollars.

Similarly, Daraz also plans its own version of Cyber Monday, the online shopping event held three days after Thanksgiving, which occurs in the US on the fourth Thursday of November.

Although Pakistan only has about 30 million Internet users, with India having 10 times more, Pakistan’s $232 billion economy is on track for its fastest pace of annual expansion since 2008.

On an average, Daraz draws around 6 million visitors a month spending a combined 1 million euros on exclusive offers for Chinese-made smartphones, TVs and clothes, Mikkelsen said.

It sells via websites and mobile apps and almost half its deliveries venture beyond major cities, with smartphones as cheap as $20 being a top seller.

“By tapping into a global shopping phenomenon we will create a more powerful event than if we made up a new concept from scratch,” he said.

“There’s little point advertising online when Internet penetration is so low, Mikkelsen said further, adding that “Instead, Daraz is recruiting taxi drivers and college students to become “brand ambassadors,” or a sales force paid on commission.

This article originally appeared on Bloomberg Business

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Reader Comments (3)

  • FS
    Sep 23, 2015 - 7:50PM

    What poor marketing strategy! Black Friday should coincide with Eid rather than ThanksgivingRecommend

  • MJ
    Sep 23, 2015 - 8:07PM

    Black Friday as a term was coined in US in the 50’s. Because a lot of people would call in sick at work after Thanksgiving Thursday. Another explanation is that at one of a mass sales event in Philadelphia the local cops named that day black Friday because there were throngs of shoppers of African American descent on the streets that day. Pakistan should market their own term of a sales event, none of the two explanations above have any connection with out culture.Recommend

  • Tiddi Pehalwan
    Sep 23, 2015 - 9:09PM

    Lately I have seen too many sindhis descending on Dolmen Mall Clifton in droves,

    flashing starched shalwar qameez and expensive wrist watches ogling women there like

    they’d eat them alive.

    This surge shows the corruption prosperity that Zardari party has brought

    to lots of sindhis.

    They should be the main target of this so called Black Friday promotion

    as they are dripping with corruption loot money and can keep shopping sans

    reason and remorse.Recommend

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