The retailer that hosts the biggest shopping event of the year: 6.7 mln Romanians want to buy something on Black Friday

Some 11 million Romanians have heard about the Black Friday shopping event and 6.7 million plan on buying something on Black Friday this year, according to local online retailer eMAG, which launched the event in Romania in 2011.

“In 2011 almost no one new about Black Friday in Romania. In 2015, 11 million Romanians say they have heard about Black Friday. This is 73% of our target segment, which is of about 15 million people,” said Iulian Stanciu, eMAG group’s CEO.

Compared to last year, 1.5 million more people know about Black Friday and 1 million more plan on buying something on this occasion, which should generate a higher volume of sales for the whole market.

eMAG, which has been the retailer with the highest sales on Black Friday in the past five years, due to being the first to launch such an event, estimates its sales will go up by about a quarter (24%) on this day compared to last year, to some RON 205 million (EUR 46 million).

“The whole volume of sales generated by Black Friday events should pass RON 1 billion (EUR 225 million) this year, given the multitude of companies and campaign involved,” Stanciu estimates. He thinks that the event will be bigger than last year, despite the multitude of discount campaigns carried out by local retailers throughout the year.

“This year there have been a lot of promotional campaigns because it was a good year, the market has grown and the players in the market have been fighting to get a higher market share. The exit of a local electro-IT from the market also spurred a fight for its clients,” said Stanciu. However, he added that people would still spend more than last year on Black Friday, for several reasons: “First, we see that the economy is better, secondly, the consumer sentiment has improved. People have allotted budgets for durable goods purchases and have been waiting for this shopping event. The VAT rate cut on food also helped people make some reserves for bigger purchases.”

eMAG will hold its Black Friday event on November 20, one week before the official Black Friday in the US. The retailer has decided to stick to its traditional one-day event, despite the fact that many competitors have turned it into a weekend event or a one-week event. One of the biggest electro-IT retailers in the market, Altex, has made it a one-month event this year.

“For sure, a one-day campaign has more impact. If we made it a one-month event, it would make no difference because most products would still be sold-out in the first 4 to 5 hours after the campaign started,” Stanciu said. “We decided to have the event on November 20 so that we could deliver all the products by November 29, before Romania’s National Day,” he explained.

Organizing such a big sales event in one day requires a lot of preparing. eMAG’s representatives said it took them nine months to get ready for the big day and that they learned from the mistakes in the past when some systems had failed.

“In 2011, when we launched the event, we had 700,000 visits on our website on Black Friday and sold 80,000 products. We were completely unprepared. In 2012, we had 2.2 million visits and sold 120,000, and were still poorly prepared. Last year, we had 4 million visits and sold 500,000 products and .our systems worked fine. Our IT infrastructure was stable and we had a big enough inventory. However, we had some operational problems related to late deliveries, as there were some cases in which people didn’t even get their products by Christmas,” Stanciu openly admitted.

He said that the company has learned from all the past failures and has worked even harder in the past six months to make things go as smooth as possible on Black Friday. The company has prepared one million items and expects to sell 650,000. The total discounts offered on this day are some EUR 22.5 million, or a third of the total value of these products.

eMAG has over 1,200 people working on the event and has invested EUR 4 million in servers and software development, to allow 300,000 visitors simultaneously on the website and mobile application. The warehouse surface allotted for this event is 55,000 sqm, the size of 11 football fields, from where 80 trucks full of merchandise will leave towards the customers each day, for eight days, according to the company’s representatives.

eMAG is the biggest online retailer in Romania. The company is 75%-owned by South African group NASPERS and 25%-owned by Iulian Stanciu. It has expanded in recent years to Bulgaria, Hungary, and Poland.

Retailers in Romania get ready for Black Friday

Andrei Chirileasa, [email protected]