By Chesney Hearst, Senior Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – Black Friday in Brazil officially began in the early morning hours last Friday, November 29th and proved throughout the morning and afternoon to be both a source of frustration and disappointment for some shoppers according to reports.
Despite the lack of Thanksgiving observations on the previous day, Black Friday – the day of shopping that marks the beginning of the Christmas shopping season and follows the November holiday in the United States – has taken hold in many South American countries.
In Brazil, the increase in popularity is thought to be fueled by an even faster growing consumer base. Several chains including Walmart, Nespresso, Chevrolet and supermarkets like Extra, Ponto Frio and Pão de Açúcar offered various discounts both online and in stores.
In 2012, Black Friday sales totaled R$217 million for the entire 24-hour shopping spree. By the end of the end of last Friday, ClearSale found that the 2013 total had reached R$340 million, which represents a more than a fifty percent increase over last year.
While sales showed improvements, some consumers complained of fraud and technical problems, referring to the shopping spree as as “Black Fraude” (Black Fraud) because access to many online sites proved difficult and the discounts were either less than previously advertised or represented discounts from recently marked up prices.
Many online consumers reported their frustrations with unstable online sites and long virtual check-out lines with longer than a ten minute wait to checkout. Customers reported waiting long durations to complete their purchases on web sites Submarino and Americanas.com. Both companies responded by extending their sales into the weekend.
Elsewhere online, there were reports of advertised sale items returning to full price upon checkout and complaints from in-store shoppers, who said retailers were offering the same products for diverging prices at their different stores.
Procon – SP, the consumers’ right watchdog agency, stated that it will investigate seventeen companies that received a total of eighty-seven complaints from customers during Black Friday sales.
In 2012 Brazilian e-commerce history was made when 237,000 online transactions took place on Black Friday, according to an e-bit survey. In the first twelve hours of this year’s Black Friday, more than 410,000 online purchases were recorded with an average value of R$425.
Read more (in Portuguese).
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