Sales at the shopping event Buen Fin — Mexico’s Black Friday — are expected to almost match those of 2019 despite the coronavirus pandemic and its impact on many people’s earnings.
The federal government and the private sector anticipate total sales of 117 billion pesos (US $5.75 billion), which would be just 3 billion pesos shy of last year’s total.
They are hopeful that the event, which started Monday and will run though November 20, will give a much-needed boost to the ailing economy.
A large part of this year’s discounted Buen Fin purchases are predicted to be made online but bricks and mortar stores across Mexico are gearing up for increased customer numbers during the 12-day event.
The fact that this year’s Buen Fin will run three times longer than last year’s is a major reason why sales are expected to come close to 2019 levels despite the coronavirus-induced economic downturn.
Participating retailers will be required to follow strict health measures, said Economy Minister Graciela Márquez and the Confederation of Chambers of Commerce, Services and Tourism (Concanaco).
Shoppers must wear face masks and will undergo temperature checks before being allowed to enter a store. They will be given antibacterial gel for their hands and will have to step on shoe sanitizing mats on their way into commercial establishments.
Stores must limit capacity to 30% of their normal levels and ensure that shoppers keep a “healthy distance” from each other.
Concanaco president José Manuel López Campos said that store managers have completed online courses in order to become au fait with the required health measures.
He said that business owners, employees and customers all have a responsibility to follow the rules and reduce the possibility of new coronavirus infections during the Buen Fin event.
While sales are expected to be strong, an academic at the Universidad del Valle de México said that many people will be unable to take advantage of the discounts and promotions on offer.
Myrna Guadalupe Martínez Lucio pointed out that many workers have had their salaries cut or hours reduced due to the pandemic while others lost their jobs and incomes completely.
Many people’s purchasing power has been reduced, she said. As a result they are unlikely to go shopping for nonessential items even though they might be able to obtain them at bargain prices.
The president of the Mexican Association of Travel Agencies was more optimistic, noting that consumers will be able to pay back some purchases interest-free over a period of 40 months while getting double or triple reward points from their banks.
“It’s an enormous opportunity,” said Eduardo Paniagua.
The 2020 Buen Fin is the 10th edition of the annual shopping event. Sales last year were three times higher than during the inaugural event in 2011 when shoppers spent 40 billion pesos.
If sales this year don’t exceed those of 2019 it will be the first time in the event’s history that revenue has declined from one year to the next.
Source: El Universal (sp)