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28 Nov, 2020 12:57

As official data warns of rising poverty levels, Russia’s Black Friday spending DOUBLES compared to 2019

As official data warns of rising poverty levels, Russia’s Black Friday spending DOUBLES compared to 2019

Despite government numbers indicating rising levels of poverty and an increasing amount of people struggling to make ends meet, Russians spent twice as much on this year's Black Friday as they did in 2019.

The data was provided by Alexey Kirichek, vice president of VTB, one of the largest banks in Russia. He also noted that spending on Friday tripled compared to the previous week. “The Black Friday sale is not over yet, but taking the example of our major partners, we see that this year is marked by a special excitement, despite the pandemic,” Kirichek explained on Friday evening. “Russians made one and half times more transactions and spent twice as much money [compared to last year].”

The expert also noted that Black Friday sales will last until the end of the week in some stores.

The growth in sales comes during what looks like an ever-worsening financial crisis, according to official metrics. Earlier this month, Moscow revealed that unemployment in the capital is up sevenfold to three percent, compared against data from last year. In September, President Vladimir Putin said that the country's unemployment rate is now over six percent, having continued to grow throughout August.  

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According to the Association of Internet Trade Companies (AKIT), Black Friday sales came to Russia in 2013, so this year saw their eighth iteration. The term originates from the US in the 1960s and refers to the day after Thanksgiving, and the start of the sale period in the run-up to Christmas. The concept has since spread around the world, and now many stores in Russia run Black Friday or even ‘Black Week’ discounts. Last year, online sales over the Black Friday weekend (November 29-December 1) rose by 30 percent to 22.3 billion rubles ($293 million), compared with the same period in 2018. 

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