The insanity of Black Friday is upon us, but don’t succumb to the madness at the malls tweeted many observers – and it’s only one day, I for one would not mind adding. Newsweek Europe published this article about the introduction of the notion of Black Friday into the Middle East or rather into the countries of the Gulf part of the region. The other regions are either undergoing traumatic upheavals of civil wars and / or internal political unrest and have no serious propensity or disposition of mind to indulge into acquiring at an exceptional bargain a desired product. The varying levels of ICTs penetration into the countries of the Middle East play against all other countries other than those of the Gulf. And within these latter countries, the diverse populations can also be differentiated through their response to the afore-said notion of Black Friday.
Souq, the Amazon of the Middle East, aims to break its own records in third year of sales bonanza.
BY JACK MOORE ON 11/25/16 AT 10:12 AM
The dizzying array of discounts, department store frenzies and violent wrestling bouts over electronic goods that have come to define the American tradition of Black Friday have arrived in the Middle East—not in the shops, but online.
Souq, the largest e-commerce site in the Arab world launched a four-day online shopping bonanza known as ‘White Friday’ in 2014 and this year it began on Wednesday, seeing consumers from seven Arab countries vie for a bounty of luxury goods until Saturday. The site’s chief executive, Syrian entrepreneur Ronaldo Mouchawar, earned the company a billing as the ‘Amazon of the Middle East’ and prompted a host of other Middle Eastern retailers to follow suit.
White Friday takes an American tradition and turns it on its head. It seeks to resonate with the culture of the Middle East, where Thanksgiving is not celebrated, and Friday is a weekend day, reserved for the holy worship of millions of Muslims, both Sunni and Shia. While black can denote a sombre event (in the U.S., Black Friday actually refers to hoisting a business “back into the black”), the color white takes on a more positive meaning for Mouchawar and the team at Souq.
Mary Ghobrial, chief commercial officer of Souq.com and Ronaldo Mouchawar, chief executive and co-founder of Souq.com, two of the faces behind the Middle East’s White Friday sale.
“We wanted to own an event that was not really tied to thanksgiving as much but more tied to our Friday, our White, which is kind of positive and happy,” says Mouchawar, speaking to Newsweek from his Dubai office by Skype. “We launched it in 2014 and it was a massive success. Last year, we did about 600,000 units, and hopefully this year we go over a million.”
The scenes of mayhem witnessed in the West upon the opening of Black Friday sales across thousands of stores will not be reflected in the Middle East, but the feverish hunt for bargains online will be, in what is predicted to be a record year for the sales event. The event has grown year on year, Souq’s co-founder says, and this year they have expanded to three new countries, Bahrain, Qatar and Oman, on top of Egypt, the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait.
Read more on Newsweek .