Our world has changed, yet we remain unbroken.
2021 began as a dreadful doppelganger to its predecessor: fuel hikes, loadshedding, and the start-stop of liquor sales in both retail and hospitality industries. And yet amongst the gloom, glimmers of hope began to surface. Our first batch of vaccines touched down in February and the first public rollout came into effect in mid May. As we marked 365 days in Lockdown, we began to report on green shoots in the SME economy (this despite empty government promises of driving R100 billion into the small business sector).
When Treasury’s budget speech did not live up to our hopes of economic revival, with SMEs largely relegated to the desolate ‘missing middle,’ we saw a large shift from consumers to supporting local businesses and reviving the #ShopSmall movement. Then, as protests and looting swept parts of the country, threatening the lives and livelihoods of all in their wake, we watched as residents and business owners came together to restore and rebuild, and noted how SMEs had turned an unforeseen recession into opportunities to realign, reinvent and reclaim, with many industries seeing steady financial recovery.
And here we sit, poised with baited breath on the edge of a new dawn. Last Black Friday saw a huge shift to the digital space, while many anticipated a second wave of infections. Many businesses have retained a digital element in their 2021 strategy, with improved processes and more robust infrastructure.
With unemployment sitting at arecord 34%, business owners can also expect to see consumers tightening their purse strings this year, but last year’s sale season data provides us some interesting and useful insights. Many South Africans are only prepared to jump at a discount of 50% (which is surprisingly on the lower end when looking at an international scale), and the average Black Friday spend is in the arena of R1,500, so clinching a client with a deal that hits the sweet spot is of paramount importance.
We know that making up for the losses of the past 18 months takes hard work, grit and determination. Retail Capital is here to help you with Innovative Funding Solutions for your business, as well as insights and ideas (101 Small Business Deal Ideas to be exact) to put your business ahead of the rest, not only this Black Friday, but post Covid and beyond. May this be the beginning of the boom for you, for the SME sector and for our nation.
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