Black Friday, a weak rand and getting your hands on that cheap iPhone

Nigel Gambanga Avatar
iPhone 6

Check the data and time. Yes, today is still Black Friday, that massive shopping day peppered with countless discounts from retailers around the world. If you hurry you can still pick up a few great deals online.

Zimbabwean retailers don’t usually take part in the Black Friday frenzy, even though we have some online retailers like Zimall offering their own special offers. Generally it’s not as big a deal locally as it is in other parts of the world where people are hoarding everything from phones to home electronics.

But, it’s 2015, so there’s no need to be left out. In South Africa, Black Friday offers are being thrown around left, right and centre. With a weakened South African Rand, Zimbabweans and their dollarized economy are on the right side of the foreign currency fence.

If you have a reasonable amount fo money, the energy for some online bargain hunting and can pull off a bit of coordination with the odd friend or family member crossing the Beitbridge border post this festive season, you can take advantage of some of the Black Friday deals.

For the next few days, retailers like Dion Wired, CNA, and online retailers like Takealot are hacking prices in a bid to stay competitive over this shopping period. If you have the time and patience to scour the internet for great deals, you can come out with fair bargains for products that are generally pricey, especially in local stores.

A good illustration of this is the discounts from the Apple Store in South Africa.  Sure, 11,000 Rand for an iPhone 6 is not cheap, even after the exchange rate gymnastics and Black Friday discounts. But $282 for an iPhone 5C beats the $660 price tag that it has attracted from Zimbabwean retailers. Even with taxes factored in there, as well as other costs of shipping,that deal is hard to beat.

NB Apple Store South Africa Black Friday deals are in-store only(no online purchases), so you need to make that extra arrangement if you really want anything from there. 

It’s highly unlikely that Zimbabwean distributors will offer killer discounts, especially in an environment where average sales for products and services haven’t been outstanding throughout the year and the economic realities are calling for an aggressive pursuit of profits.

But the case of ease in online transactions and an increased exposure to alternatives through the internet should warrant some form of business model review from retailers of products. We might not end up being drowned by Zimbabwean Black Friday offers, but it’s worth considering some reasonable pricing, even for that one weekend a year.