(photo credit: INGIMAGE / ASAP)
While Black Friday and Cyber Monday began as an American cultural phenomenon, the digital age has opened the unofficial “shopping holidays” to international consumers. As today’s online shopping spree begins, The Jerusalem Post takes a look at how the Israeli consumer tackles online shopping in today’s world.
Earlier in November, the global- market research group Ipsos published its third annual survey of online shopping trends around the world. The survey, which was commissioned by online payment-system giant PayPal, was conducted among Internet users over the age of 18.
The survey shows that the Israeli consumer is very online savvy when it comes to shopping, even when compared to other countries. According to the survey, 74% of Israelis made online purchases in 2016, with an estimated worth of NIS 11.8 billion. This constitutes an 18% increase in online shopping from last year. Additionally, the survey noted a 55% increase in online purchases made through mobile devices such as cellphones and tablets.
According to PayPal, the Israeli online consumer is both prolific and cautious.
“The Israeli consumer is very sharp when it comes to digital shopping,” Efi Dahan, PayPal’s regional director for Africa and Israel, told the Post. “Compared to other consumers, Israelis love shopping online, but they also do their homework.
“Israelis like to compare prices on several sites prior to purchase, get tips from social networks and take the time to see seller ratings and product evaluations on the big shopping sites. Often they will spend the year finding products to buy online and then make the purchase on Black Friday to maximize discounts and save a lot of money.”
Israelis love to take advantage of the special online offers common on national shopping days throughout November, such as Black Friday and Cyber Monday, or China’s Singles’ Day.
“The months of November and December are record months for mail orders from abroad because of the various international shopping days,” Israel Postal Company vice president of services Bosmat Sade said in a press release on Wednesday.
According to Dahan, “Black Friday is the No. 1 peak in Israeli online shopping activity, followed by Cyber Monday and finally Singles’ Day. These are the strongest days.”
Israeli companies have also adopted the trend.
“The online shopping sites of Israel’s big retailers always make special preparations for Black Friday with sales and promotions unseen throughout the rest of the year,” Ofir Iluz, managing partner at Amazing Web, an Israeli website-building start-up company that specializes in online shopping sites, told the Post. “Some of our clients, like Toys ‘R’ Us and Delta, begin technical preparations weeks in advance in order to facilitate increased site traffic, which is often larger than the average by tens of thousands of entries.”
Expecting a surge in purchases from the US over the Black Friday weekend, the Israel Postal Company announced a special cooperation with Ushops, an online company that facilitates delivery from the US.
According to the Ipsos survey, 46% of canceled online transactions occur due to high delivery costs or lack of delivery options to Israel. Ushops and Israel post are offering consumers the ability to order products from American sites that don’t deliver to Israel and gain a considerable discount and faster delivery times.
However, according Cybereason Israel, a company that provides real-time protection from cyber attacks, Black Friday is also a holiday for Internet scammers who take advantage of the increased shopping traffic to deceive consumers and steal credit-card details.
According to Yana Blachman, a security researcher at Cybereason, the most common scam during the Black Friday season comes in the form of emails being sent to consumers from scammers pretending to be shopping or delivery sites such as Amazon. The email usually contains a message along the lines of “item delivery malfunction” and provides a link to a site that looks like the official webpage of the company in question. The fake site is used either to steal a victim’s information or to plant viruses or spyware on the victim’s computer.
“Cybereason advises online shoppers to look carefully at the questionable emails,” Blachman said. “Often attackers will have spelling or grammar mistakes or language that doesn’t fit in an official email.
In any case of doubt, we advise to track purchases directly through a company’s official site and never through a link.”
The Ipsos survey also showed that 76% of Israelis who buy on foreign sites prefer to use PayPal rather than credit cards for safety reasons.
“As I mentioned, Israelis are very sharp online shoppers,” Dahan said. “They are generally aware of the risks and dangers and therefore are less willing to expose their credit-card details when buying from abroad.”