Black Friday Bonanza
BLACK Friday shopping in Jamaica this year saw shoppers looking for bargains, conducting hundreds of thousands of transactions in what may well be the biggest shopping day so far, according to data from JETS, the operator of the Multilink network.
Edmundo Jenez, chief executive officer (CEO) of JETS, outlined the value and volume of transactions on that day last Friday.
“On Black Friday, we saw $2.556 billion worth of transactions and that was done through 229,000 withdrawals (sic) on that day,” Jenez pointed out to the Jamaica Observer. The figure corresponds to the total cash withdrawn from the nation’s automated banking machine (ABM) network and transactions done on point-of-sale (POS) machines. Jenez said the number of transactions on Black Friday, which was observed on November 24, is the highest so far this year. He said he is expecting it to be eclipsed only by shopping during the Christmas period. He forecasts that this year, one of the days during the Christmas shopping period will have “between $2.6 billion and $2.7 billion worth of transactions”.
“The best day last year was December 23 when $2.562 billion worth of transactions were done at ABMs and POS machines,” Jenez pointed out. “Usually, what happens is that the volume and value of transactions on Black Friday usually matches or exceeds what happened during the previous Christmas from the year before, and then that sets up the stage for the next Christmas,” he said as he explained that the number of transactions done during the Christmas period depends on the day of the week on which Christmas Eve falls. Usually, if it falls on a weekend, the peak spending takes place on the Friday before.
“Last year, Christmas Eve was on a Saturday and the transactions peaked on Friday [December] 23rd,” he said adding that transactions on that day were the most of any one day last year.” By comparison, on Black Friday last, over $2.19 billion worth of transactions were done using the Multilink network. Other days of strong spending last year were December 22 which was a Thursday and December 24, which fell on a Saturday. Together, all five days were the biggest spending days in Jamaica. “So the December period dominates the top five days for transactions through ABMs and POS.”
Those spending days apart, Jenez said transactions processed through the Multilink network top about $1 billion per day.
“There are other days which are slow like on a Sunday where you have less than $1 billion in a day.” He highlighted that how people spend depends on the occasion.
“People respond to spending based on events and circumstances. For instance, if a hurricane is coming, people are going to spend a lot. If there is a major entertainment event or a sporting match or carnival, people will spend a lot. But generally, people tend to spend more around Thursday, Friday and Saturday each week. Sunday is usually the lowest days, but not always. Sometimes you can have high activities on a Sunday, for example, the Sunday after Black Friday this year, there was nearly $1 billion worth of transactions and that was a high Sunday, so no doubt some stores held over sales straight back into Monday,” he said.
He also said periods such as back-to-school and other events such as Take Style Out tends to see huge transactions through the network.
“When you hit month-end weekends and people get paid, then they certainly go out to do some spending,” he added.
The Multilink network processes about $37 billion worth of transactions monthly. The ABM network which numbers 832 processes about $19 billion worth of withdrawals each month while point-of-sales machines handle another $18 billion worth of payments at 19,788 active machines.
“While the POS does more transactions, the size of the transactions at point-of-sales tends to be on average smaller, because people are spending exactly what it costs them in the store, whilst at the ABMs they tend to draw more money than what they actually plan to spend. “
Jamaicans make about 1.4 million withdrawals per month at ABMs while about 1.8 million transactions are done each month on point-of-sale machines.