Christmas Expectations

Many bidorbuy sellers report a positive effect of the holiday season on their sales as economic slowdown drives consumers online in search of affordable gifts

(2 December 2008) Retailers nationwide are looking forward to Christmas shopping with all the eagerness of a thirsty traveller approaching an oasis. They are hoping to make up at least partially for the slump that saw retail sales decrease by 1.7 percent year-on-year in the first eight months of this year.

In contrast, the largest local consumer-to-consumer online trading place, bidorbuy.co.za, expected the trading to ease off before Christmas after having gained momentum in the January-September 2008 period, when the total turn over on the site recorded a 120 percent increase in comparison with the previous year. Traditionally, trading on bidorbuy follows a fairly established pattern, trailing off in the pre-Christmas period, to pick up again only in January.

After all, an online auction site and marketplace is regarded as an enormous garage sale, the place where people come to offload an unbelievable assortment of used and no longer wanted things. In short - not a place where one goes to buy Christmas gifts for one’s nearest and dearest, but a place where one comes to get rid of the unwanted Christmas presents received from one’s nearest and dearest.

It now seems that this perception, already for some time divorced from reality, is fading and that bidorbuy is in for a pleasant surprise this holiday season. Perhaps driven by the financial squeeze, South African consumers are coming to the site in search of bargain gifts. For, while many will have to forego such luxuries as holiday travel, few will want to leave their nearest and dearest without a Christmas gift. Among the most sought-after items are MP3 players, GPS units, jewellery, collectible toys and clothing and accessories – the last one coming as a surprise because, in contrast with international trends, South Africans did not appear to be overly ready to fit themselves out online in the past.

Anticipating this trend, bidorbuy sellers have populated the site with brand-new merchandise, as a rule cheaper than can be obtained in traditional business-to-consumer outlets. On its side, bidorbuy opened a special Christmas Catalogue category in order to direct the traffic and make it easier for the shoppers to find their way to the perfect gift in a hurry.

While not all the sellers have seen a notable increase, many of them report a positive effect of the Christmas season on their sales. Some say that the items they list on auction in the Christmas Catalogue achieve up to 30 percent better prices than item listed in the “normal” section of the site. Others find that “buy-now’s” – items listed at a fixed price - are becoming more popular, because people seem to want to finalise sales quickly when shopping for Christmas. And the expectations are still running high. As one seller says, many people will get their thirteenth cheques or bonuses only towards the middle of December, and that, he believes, will translate into some additional brusque trading on bidorbuy.

One of the most important considerations surrounding Christmas shopping on the site is to leave enough time for the monies to be paid and the goods to be delivered. That is why the bidorbuy Christmas catalogue will close on 19 December. However, since it is reasonable to presume that in these economically uncertain times many will spend their holidays in front of their computers rather than on the beach, it is possible that the brusque trading will continue right through the traditional Christmas slowdown.

[597 words]

About bidorbuy:

bidorbuy is South Africa's largest online marketplace. Established in 1999, the company has created a safe and convenient way for people to buy and sell goods online. As a virtual trading place that brings buyers and sellers together and allows them to buy and sell virtually anything in an exciting auction format, using the Internet, bidorbuy has created a thriving online marketplace.

About bidorbuy

bidorbuy is South Africa's largest online marketplace. Established in 1999, the company has created a safe and convenient way for people to buy and sell goods online. As a virtual trading place that brings buyers and sellers together and allows them to buy and sell virtually anything in an exciting auction format, using the Internet, bidorbuy has created a thriving online marketplace.