Black Friday: How did SA Websites Handle the Pressure?

2 Jan

Friday 24 November saw consumers and retailers alike steady themselves for the onslaught of Black Friday sales, both online and throughout many stores. The increasingly popular end-of-year sales continued in many outlets until Tuesday 28 November with a big push on Cyber Monday for online stores.

Black Friday – the informal name for the day after Thanksgiving, has long been regarded as the beginning of the Christmas Season shopping spree in America and was adopted by other countries in the early 2000s.

Black Friday Pressure

South African retailers, while slow on the uptake of this phenomena, appear to have fully adopted this crazy sale day without quite understanding the enormity of the demand on their sites. We take a look at just how South African websites fared in the wake of millions of visitors on the biggest day of them all – Black Friday.

So how did South African Websites Handle it?

The likes of Dion Wired,, Incredible Connection, Virgin Active and Toys R Us were just a few South African websites struck with outages in the wake of Black Friday.

The cause of these site outages? Poor website infrastructure or overwhelmed hosting servers. With South Africans showing more signs of trust in online shopping, many of the businesses offering online retail options need to look at the scalability of their websites.

E-Commerce Website Infrastructure

Ultimately, e-commerce websites of today need to be built with a highly scalable and flexible infrastructure which adjusts to the needs of the consumer, most importantly on days such as Black Friday. An elastic infrastructure is the key to surviving major changes in website traffic and ultimately handling the pressure.

With this elasticity, an e-commerce website is able to fully scale itself in order to manage increased traffic based on the use of the CPU and memory usage. This elasticity allows the website to unload the pressure in a more balanced way, rather than imploding on itself due to an overwhelmed server.

Takealot Takes it Home

Despite prolonged outages, managed to net itself a whopping R87 million on Black Friday, recording 2.2 million site visits in just one day!

Despite being down for most of the day on Black Friday, the website managed to bank R6 million in gross merchandising value in the first hour of the Black Friday sale, while showing a 280% increase in year-on-year site visits.

The increase in popularity of online shopping within South Africa drives a need for e-commerce websites to build flexible, scalable and secure website infrastructure in preparation for Black Friday 2018.

Remember, if you are an online shopper the importance of using a fully secure password and regularly backing up your data to the Cloud is paramount. Exposure to hackers is higher than ever in the wake of online exposure during the worldwide phenomenon that is Black Friday!

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