Pakistan saw its first Black Friday sales this year. These retail sales were on at both brick-and-mortar stores and e-tailers like Daraz.pk. There were also media reports indicating similar sales in the UK and other countries as well. For those unfamiliar with Black Friday, let me explain what it is.
Black Friday, a day of mega sales by retailers, follows Thanksgiving Day in America. Black Friday marks the start of the annual Christmas shopping season that accounts for about half the annual retail revenue and much of the profits earned by US retailers.
Thanksgiving is a quintessential American holiday that commemorates the arrival of European "Pilgrims" fleeing religious persecution across the Atlantic. It is celebrated with a dinner of turkey, cranberries and corn that made up the feast offered by native Americans, also known as American Indians, to welcome the hungry and tired Europeans in this continent of North America. President Barack Obama used the occasion to remind today's Americans of their duty to welcome those who are fleeing persecution in Syria and elsewhere in the Middle East. Here's what the President said:
“Nearly four centuries after the Mayflower set sail, the world is still full of pilgrims – men and women who want nothing more than the chance for a safer, better future for themselves and their families. What makes America America is that we offer that chance. We turn Lady Liberty’s light to the world, and widen our circle of concern to say that all God’s children are worthy of our compassion and care. That’s part of what makes this the greatest country on Earth.”
So what do many American shoppers do on Black Friday? They mob the shopping malls and the brick-and-mortar stores as they open very early on Friday morning following Thanksgiving holiday to snap up bargains. Overzealous shoppers are known to knock down and trample other shoppers as they race to take advantage of bargain basement prices on items such as new apparel, consumer electronics and toys. With the rise of e-commerce, many American shoppers now prefer to take advantage of Black Friday sales offered by popular e-tailers like Amazon.com. The e-commerce sites usually have such Black Friday sales continue beyond a single day.
This year, Pakistan's Daraz.pk e-tailer offered Black Friday bargains to Pakistani shoppers. Daraz.pk partnered with several companies including PTCL, Ponds, Mediatek, InnJoo and Easypay. EasyPay is the official payment partner, offering an additional 25 per cent discount on products to customers who use Easypay on Black Friday. There were category discounts as high as 63 per cent on smartphones, 50 per cent on computers and 70 per cent on fashion and accessories on offer at Daraz, according to Express Tribune newspaper.
In addition to e-commerce sites, there was also a report in England's "The Daily Mirror" about "Lahori aunties going mad" on Black Friday at a fabric store in Lahore.
What is the importance of the Middle East for the West? Is it energy resources to fuel theindustrialized West? Or the key trade and shipping routes passing through the Persian Gulf and the Suez Canal used by ships to sail from Asia to Europe and North America?…