Brazil embraces US-inspired shopping event

Global Business

Brazil embraces US-inspired shopping event

The words “Black Friday,” in English, can be seen in almost every single shop window in Rio de Janeiro and in major cities across Brazil.

The U.S. retail event became vogue in 2010 and is now one of the biggest sales days of the year here.

CGTN’s Lucrecia Franco reports.

In its ninth edition and falling on a regular weekday, the shopping frenzy has taken over the country and expectations are that sales volumes will be much bigger than last year.

“This is the ‘Black Friday’ we have been waiting for to anticipate our Christmas shopping. It’s really worth it,” teacher Valeria Novaes said.

Based on a national survey, sales could surge by as much as 18 percent compared to Black Friday 2017.

According to Rodolpho Tobler, an economist at the renowned Getulio Vargas Foundation, the event has been growing and expanding steadily.

“In recent years we are seeing that the Black Friday-effect has surpassed the barriers of traditional retailing and has reached even banks, which offer several advantages such as discounts for taking loans,” Tobler said.

Brazil suffered one of its worst recessions in history in 2015 and 2016 when the economy contracted nearly 7 percent. It is now slowly picking up. The World Bank forecasts growth around 1.2 percent this year.

Though it’s a regular workday in Brazil, there are many shoppers on the streets. Far from U.S. shores, ‘Black Friday’ has become a once-a-year opportunity to buy almost anything, at steep discounts.

Preferences are electronics, home appliances and smartphones.

Sales volumes, however could be much bigger if it was not for the fact that over 60 million Brazilians are struggling to pay debts, and around 12 and a half million are unemployed.

According to the president of the Rio’s shopkeeper association, Aldo Goncalves, unemployment and credit card interests are to blame.

“Consumers that can’t pay their credit cards full are charged interest rates of around 300 percent a year, one of the world’s highest, and that restrains consumption and the country’s development as well,” Goncalves said.

Analyst said that while the economy didn’t grow as quickly as expected, at least on this Black Friday, some Brazilians are making-up for long-repressed shopping desires.