By Lise Alves, Senior Contributing Reporter
SÃO PAULO, BRAZIL – Although Brazilians do not celebrate Thanksgiving, they have adopted a U.S. ritual that occurs the day after: Black Friday. This year, record sales were seen in Brazil’s e-commerce on Friday, November 28th and throughout the weekend, with more than five million sales totaling more than R$1 billion.
According to consulting firms that monitor internet sales, e-commerce sales grew by 71 percent in comparison to the 2013 on Friday alone. Some large chains, with strong presence in e-commerce, also promoted discounts at their physical stores, although no big lines were seen outside major department stores early Friday morning.
Busca Disconto (Seek Discount) one of the organizers of the daylong event reported the most sought-after items included electronics (42.27 percent) sports/leisure equipment and clothes (15.04 percent), computer accessories (10.96 percent), travel (10.65 percent) and clothes (7.3 percent).
Some retailers, however, see Black Friday more as a way to make bigger profits than a strategy to sell off a surplus of inventory to make room for new Christmas products. As in previous years, along with the sales came a wave of customer complaints, ranging from unstable websites, lack of inventory and fraudulent deals.
In one case, an Apple iPhone 6 was listed as being more than seventy percent off, with its ‘sale’ price at R$3,199.00, while its ‘original’ price was listed as R$10,000.00.
The website Reclame Aqui (Complain Here) received over 12,000 complaints in a 24-hour period. According to the site the most recurring complaints were those related to inflated ‘normal’ prices, which then are ‘reduced’.
Overall, however, retailers say that slowly the ‘Black Friday Tradition’ is growing in Brazil and as more and more customers adhere to the one-day shopping spree, an increasing number of merchants are beginning to plan ahead and look forward the fourth Friday in November.