Black Friday in Pakistan Fails to Deliver on the Hype!

Promos, advertisements and marketing for this year’s Black Friday in Pakistan started more than a month before the actual event. Consumer were promised a wider variety of products, deeper discounts and a better shopping experience than before.

According to the survey we conducted here on ProPakistani, at least 25% ProPakistani users made purchases and availed discounts during Black Friday. There were 6% of our readers who selected a deal but didn’t checkout.

This means that a whooping 31% ProPakistani readers shopped during the day and were content with the offered discounts.

However, there was a steady stream of unsatisfied customers, angry reviews and controversy on social media which is totally understandable, as not all deals and stores were top notch.

After reviewing the facts, here are our key findings.

The Volume of Traffic was Overwhelming

Online stores simply weren’t expecting the amount of traffic they got. Customers had to face unavailable sites, slow loading times and issues with shopping carts and checkout.

Despite estimates that the demand would be high, most e-commerce stores failed to prepare their infrastructure. From bigger players like Yayvo, Symbios and Homeshopping to smaller ones like MyGerrys and iShopping, the customer experience remained somewhat poor, mainly due to spikes.

The total traffic was a multifold of expectations of store owners mainly due to an overall increase in internet population of Pakistan.

Internet shopping, compared to previous year, also grew thanks to more branchless banking consumers, credit/debit card penetration and increased trend/trust for online shopping.

Dealing with spikes is one thing but for stores to be prepared to deal with increased demand required a lot of home-work which they simply didn’t do.

Daraz, for example, had to halt deals offered via some of their payment partners as fixed discounts with certain partners ran out much earlier than expected.

Better planning, such as lower but consistent discount with payment partners, would have improved the shopping experience.

Most Stores Flat Out Lied to Consumers

Yes, this is a known issue. Stores lied about their pricing, inflated it and then showed a discount to sell products at usual (or at times above the usual) prices.

This in turn infuriated customers who took to social media to express their anger and frustration at being cheated.

Also Read: Online Shops Lie About Their Inventory and This is Killing E-commerce Industry in Pakistan!

That wasn’t all. It felt like most items with higher discounts were on a clearance sale rather than best sellers. Fake discounts, marginal savings on popular items and a lot of useless ‘deals’ resulted in a general impression that stores had lied and the whole event was a ripoff.

Good Deals were Hard to Find

But then there were good deals available, and all those orders — that stores got — were from those hard to find but good deals.

So it will be wrong to say that there weren’t any good deals. They were there but ended up being buried under the sheer volume of the poor ones. Consumers who reached out to us didn’t appreciate how stores put everything on discount as it actually made it harder to find out what deals were really worth it.

Here are some of notable deals — that we shopped — but you probably missed:

  • AMD Radeon RX 480 for Rs 26,000 at Thrift.pk
  • Qmobile Noir S4 for Rs. 9000 at Daraz (usual cost is Rs. 11,700)
  • HP Split 13m170ef x2 for Rs. 27,000 at Homeshopping.pk
  • HP Elitebook Folio 1020 for Rs. 45,000 at Daraz (usual price is Rs. 102,000)

These were only some of the great deals on offer.

Misleading Marketing Led to High Expectations

We all saw the promos promising up to 85% discount. Imagine the disappointment when second class items were being sold at that discount while the rest of the products were offering much less discounts.

Stores seemed to be okay with the fact that it might create ill-will and kept trying to offer more discounts than competitors while  ignoring customer experience.

Also Read: Pakistani Ecommerce Industry has One Key Flaw That we Must Fix Right Away!

Another thing that was completely missing was transparency. The really good deals ran out fast and stores weren’t upfront about how much inventory they’d stock at the listed prices.

So while thousands of people availed the deals, enjoyed the discounts and saved millions, Pakistani stores could do a lot better in customer experience.

Conclusion and Lessons

After this Black Friday, e-commerce stores are treading on thin ice. Despite good deals being made available, poor shopping experience, overhyping and fake discounts resulted in shaken trust and a negative perception of the whole event.

Despite government promises, Pakistan still doesn’t have an e-commerce framework or consumer laws that are actually applied. In their absence, the market has to self-regulate and right now it’s not doing a very good job of it.

Many consumers are angry and they have every right to be. However, the situation is still salvageable if online stores learn their lesson from Black Friday 2016. Here some of the key takeaways which they have to consider in our opinion.

  • Don’t exaggerate discounts as this only increases expectations.
  • One unhappy customer will be louder than 100 happy ones so increase focus on customer service and experience.
  • Misleading marketing will only increase overhead, that is, more window shoppers and less actual orders — and then more order cancellations at doorstep as well.
  • Try to focus on offering a few good deals instead of marking down the whole inventory. It’s confusing for consumers and an additional hassle for stores as well.

It won’t be out of place to mention that estimates suggest Pakistan’s ecommerce industry can reach over $5 billion a year mark by 2020. At this pace, it is very much possible. However, online stores have to change the way they do business.

Not to mention, online stores can save manufacturers tons of running expenses (operational, sales, distribution etc.) and this benefit has to be transferred to the consumers to win them over.

There’s no doubt that there’s huge potential in this country of 200 million but we have to get our basics right: Customer satisfaction should be a priority no matter the cost.

Talal is the Editor in Chief at ProPakistani.


  • Ishtiaq

    Sub online stores pe lanat! Sub aik dafa ba awaz e buland laanat bhejien.

    • WEST Ko Follow Karne Walon Per Lanat :)

    • Khalid Yaldram

      Black friday tera khon sa inqlaib aa ga………………..

    • Faheem Janjua

      Aiyk Bari See Lanat…..!

  • BLack friday in abroad 75%off. Black friday in pakistan biggest sale ever 6% off!!!, this ain’t gonna work

  • PRO PAKISTANI Ksi tarhan amazon le aon PAK main… desperatly want that

    • Faheem Janjua

      Amazon, Ebay……Kab Milay Ga……Till when we need to stay “KHAJAL” on Daraz and these sites

  • My experience this BF, shopping websites from worst to best:
    5. Homeshopping – most expensive ‘discounts’, limited items on ‘sale’, WORST site
    4. Daraz – limited stock on proper discount, payment methods weren’t working half the time, customer service is ridiculous (ordered 1 item after several tries, it is still pending confirmation for the last 3 days)
    3. Telemart – discounts were okay but most of the stock on discount was ridiculous. Who buys old feature phones on a BF?
    2. iShopping – Considerably better discounts, a lot of inventory on sale, customer service accessible via live chat (ordered 2 items from them, both shipped on Saturday)
    1. Qmart – best discounts on cellphones I ever came across, quick service although only bank deposit supported for costlier items (ordered 1 item on Sunday, shipped Monday evening via TCS overnight)

  • kafayat

    So poor. They discounted only those category, which are in clearance sale. They advertise upto 80% discounts but actually they gives physically 10-20% discounts on famous brands and only offer a huge discounts on item that every onev will not taking them in free. Totally failure friday.

  • Ghias Arsalan

    Speaker will not use in friday every mosque of pakistan . prayer time speaker will remain close .

  • Sleepless

    The term is ‘whopping’ not whooping please.

  • Ahmed Habib

    Well, who is propk team to decide whole Pakistan’s view?????? What’s the representation here? All propk members and users are biased, how can they vote wisely???? Nonsense title once again… Start resting in peace propk and of course mr Aamir

    • Who are you to deny? Have u shopped during Black Friday? Can you please come up with your art piece? We can also listen to you.

      • Faheem Janjua

        He is just angry as he do not know about BF.

  • Murtaza Saeed

    So first you promote them, and now this post?
    Applause for ProPK.

    I know a site has to run, but I’m sure you could’ve gotten sponsored by someone else, other than these fraud bullshit websites.

    Daraz – Sales on crap / outdated items that nobody wants. Not to mention the discounts were barely even discounts, you could probably haggle with a shopkeeper and get the same price from him.

    HomeShopping – No discounts at all. They put fake prices, and then they put the same price they had before black friday and say we have a 20% discount. Check their Note 5 prices for example. It was 58k before black friday, then they put the price as 69k, and say we are selling it for 58k on Black Friday. If that isn’t bullshit, then I don’t know what is.

    Same goes for the rest of the sites, they should just stop trying to make Black Friday a thing here if they aren’t going to do it properly. It only works abroad, don’t know who started the trend of Black, White, Green or any fucking friday here, but let me put it plain and simple, discounts don’t exist here. Period.

    The title itself has got my blood boiling, ‘Black Friday in Pakistan, Fails to Deliver on the Hype’, where were you last year when they had the same shit? Even then, unnecessary hype was created, and there were no discounts, or anything to back it up.

    Thank you again for wasting everyone’s time with all the posts that got everyone excited, but the local sites that you so confidently promoted had nothing worthwhile to offer.

  • Rafeh Sheikh

    Very poor service of daraz.pk. Despite placing my orders 3 days ago, no one from daraz.pk has contacted me for confirmation of my two orders. How will they deliver the orders in time when they haven’t confirmed the orders yet. For the last 3 days they are saying the same thing that you will soon be contacted by our representitive. Really disappointed by daraz.pk service who claim to be biggest online shopping store in Pakistan.

  • Kamran

    My response to this is … as traders, IT experts, we should assemble together a group of sellers offering just one Friday before Ramdhan, a true sale with negligible profit and let’s call it “The Good Friday”. The idea should be to do the shopping before the holy month and dedicate it to our Ibadaat.

    • IrfanAmir

      I support this. We all should!

      • Kamran

        We should make a forum of it.. clean selling. Genuine discounts, no gimmicks

      • Kamran

        i’d been also in ecommerce for some time now. Time is ripe for reviews system as well. if a discount is NOT really a discount, it should be downplayed by editor review or some sort of “expert panel review” although debatable but a platform should be in place for “reality check”.

  • IrfanAmir

    I have developed many e-commerce websites for my clients but still I have ZERO trust on Pakistani online stores. This is because they disappoint me many times in past. And these black/white Friday deals? THESE WERE MUCH MORE WORST THAN DESCRIBED IN THIS ARTICLE!!

    I was about to buy few things during these days but when i checked rates of those things in local market I was disappointed again because i was about to pay more.

    These retards on SYMBIOS.PK were adding delivery charges twice. and on daraz they charged me 800 PKR for delivery of electric heater costing 2200. ARE YOU MAD MO***R F****RS???

    • Kamran

      Yes that’s where I think intelligent marketplaces like amazon comes in… they automatically sort the lowest store by calculating price+shipping so that no store can play the shipping catch

      • Kamran

        * sort the lowest price

  • Shark Lasers

    Most of the above problems aren’t real problems. Sites crash, just load five minutes later. Stores do lie, all advertising is a lie, judge for yourself before you buy anything. All discounts clearly state “upto”, even 10% or 20% can be a huge discount so grab what ever is good. Transparency and actual discounts were advertised poorly but you could always see the final price before checkout.

    The ONLY real problem is customer service. Orders being cancelled even though they were confirmed five minutes ago. Not knowing if your ordered is confirmed. No one at Daraz was even answering the phone!!!
    We need better customer service and protection against inaccurate delivery dates. Look at Ali Express, if your order is one day late you get a full refund.

    • Ali Junaid

      Sites crash = 100% true

      Stores do lie = Stores do lie, correct, but online stores don’t lie. What would be difference between a online and offline if online also lie? I prefer online purchases over offline just because I hate bargaining. Offline businesses lie a lot and set the prices based on your personal appearance. If online stores also starts lying, what would be difference.

      Even 10% or 20% discount is huge: Correct, what to do if that 10% or 20% still matches the market price. That’s not even a discount. Call it “Fake discounts”.

      Transparency and actual discounts were advertised poorly but you could always see the final price before checkout: Yehi to rola hai bhai, warna konsa business ap ki jaib se zabardasti paisai nikal sakta hai? :) Transparency hi to chaye online.

  • Ali Junaid

    I made some purchases from Daraz and here is what I feel about them.

    1) They should be prepared for amount of traffic they will receive in terms of offering discounts. The payment partners discount were not available 3:00am to 11:00am. Later, most of credit card discounts and Easypay discounts were either over or were capped. Advertising 20% off with Rs.5000 cap for one month and on black Friday limiting it to Rs.1000 is ridiculous.

    2) Good deals were out of stock most of time. They were not prepared at all for this. This was all caused by poor marketing strategy. Marketing is not about just bringing good amount of customers to a e-eCommerce business. Marketing is about building a brand image. The marketing dept. had overdone the marketing, ruining the customer experience. The money spent on bringing users to websites should rather be spent on customer experience and brand image.

    3) E-commerce is new trend in Pakistan. Most of shoppers were first timers during black Friday. There was zero customer support from Daraz during Black Friday. They shutdown their helpline during black Friday. They were not responding to emails. Again, this was all due to over-hype.

    In the end, Daraz could do a much better Job considering they have foreign investment as well. However, they opted just for advertising their website to users for a single day, instead of long run brand image.

    Strategy to bring users to the website = Excellent
    Strategy to build a brand image = Poor, very poor.

    I still believe the future of eCommerce is very bright in Pakistan, but there’s a lot to do in this regard. Instead of offering discounts, they should focus on:

    1) Don’t offer too much discounts. Just make sure the prices listed on website are market prices. Avoid fake discounts. If you can’t offer discount, simply don’t offer, but please don’t fake it for sake of advertising.
    2) The customer support should be superb. Customer should be confident that in case of any issue, there’s someone sitting at eCommerce store to truly help him. Literally, most of customer support agents at eCommerce sites doesn’t understand the issue intentionally or unintentionally and try to linger on the issue until the customer gives up. They are not trained well and underpaid.
    3) Focus on website development and customer experience. Look at the Daraz account panel, and you will be amazed to see there’s still no built-in tracking system. The tracking codes are manually sent on emails with incomplete information. Keep moving in the account panel and you will see how they manage the stuff there. I don’t know who does all this at Daraz but whoever he is, he literally need to open some UX books and learn.
    4) Don’t overdo the marketing if you can’t offer promised discounts. Work on user experience and brand image instead of driving unnecessary traffic to your website. Don’t ruin your brand image just by a single day sales. The eCom market of Pakistan is still not mature and new user on Black Friday will never return again if his experience is bad.

  • Ammar

    These e-commerce sites are drama on a normal day of the week. What were we expecting on a Black Friday?

  • Imran Memon

    Misleading ads on FB as well, few days back i saw. on fb … ad of daraz… Huawei P8 lite Rs.1850… i was happy when i clicked it was 18500 lolxxx

  • Sameer Yasir

    for next time, please make sure you can pay with your debit card because banks dont give this facility to every customer. You need to contact with your bank’s call center to avail this service (purchasing online using debit card). Once the payment made, you will get confirmation of your order.

  • Zulfiqar Ali

    sara kabaar becha hy inho ne black friday mien, jin cheezo ki sale nahi ho rahi thi, un pe discount kiya hy wo bhi dar dar k.

  • Mesam Ammar

    Good review about Pakistan online stores Thanks Propakistani

  • Mesam Ammar

    lenovo ideapad laptop 150 usd and pakistan online store discount offfer is 45000 of all stores and also writen fake price
    63000 discount offer 45000
    what a joke

  • Abdul Wahab Butt

    order confirmed and shipped on Saturday. (As per Daraz and TCS tracking shows) still not received..

  • Got my printer on sunday , ordered on friday

  • Pointraiser

    Indeed true, many stores increased the prices and then offered discounts which is a blatant lie, infact twitter users posted screenshots of images of them as well. So, where should the users go? In my opinion, they need to compare prices of products using price comparison websites. In the end it is the customer who has to bear the expenses and if he makes an aware purchase he will not regret the decision.

    A good price comparison website is priceblaze.pk

  • Wasif Mushtaq

    I have been surfing from one Pakistani site to another but could not find anything that is actually discounted. The prices are like: If a mobile was priced 15000 in normal days, On 25th actual price 19000 sale price 14900 . And no discount at all on man branded shoes like Nike, Adidas, Reebok.
    So I go back to Aliexpress.com which is great website, although the shipment time is huge but worth waiting, Good service excellent price.

  • Black friday where you have only 4 mentionable deal from All the sites!! Great..

  • …. and propakistani was the biggest sponsor of all this hype. Thumb down

  • Atif

    I couldn’t find a single worthy deal. Just crap and more crap. This is the last time perhaps they created such hype.

  • Sufi

    Worst and useless deals from daraz this year. this b/f was all about how to misguide customers. And few deals which were worth buying they suddenly ran out of discounts so a big No to daraz keep your roti maker i don’t want it..

  • Pathetic Experience.
    They Charged my MCB Card for many times while i entered just for one order.
    And now daraz is denying to refund money.