Israelis spend more than ever on Black Friday

American shopping frenzy hits Israel in long weekend of sales – and it continued on ‘Cyber Monday.’

By: Batya Jerenberg, World Israel News

In the United States, Black Friday is the informal name of the day after Thanksgiving, which is the fourth Thursday in November and a national holiday. But although all long weekends are conducive to shopping sales, this particular day has become renowned for the deals consumers can enjoy as it marks the beginning of the shopping season in the run-up to Christmas on December 25th.

It has routinely been the busiest shopping day of the year in the US since 2005, with up to 30% of sales for the year conducted on this day alone. According to numbers reported by Walla News, in 2016 this meant that 154 million Americans either shopped online or went to stores across the country, and spent $655 billion.

Knowing a good thing when they see it, businesses in many other countries have picked up on the phenomenon as well, even without the introductory turkey and cranberry sauce Thanksgiving dinner the day before. The Israel International Chamber of Commerce data shows that Israelis spent close to NIS 19 million in Internet shopping this past Friday – a 76% increase in spending over last year. Israeli credit card companies confirm the jump, adding that their cards have been used more than ever before in physical stores as well.

Many Israeli businesses geared up their advertising for Black Friday for days if not weeks in advance, luring customers with promises of sales up to 50% off or at the very least, no VAT. They have also extended their special sales period through Monday, just as in the US, in a marketing invention called Cyber Monday that originally specialized in online sales.

Israelis are considered quite savvy online shoppers – which actually created quite a problem on the distribution end last year, when it was reported that deliveries from Black Friday sales overwhelmed the Israeli post office, with two million packages arriving in the first week of December alone.  It remains to be seen if and how the delivery system will improve this year, considering the current extraordinary jump in sales.