America's Black Friday vs. MENA's White Friday

Published November 29th, 2020 - 02:30 GMT
America's Black Friday vs. MENA's White Friday
Black Friday was first created in 1960 in Philadelphia as a symbol for the beginning of the Christmas shopping season. (Shutterstock)

Black Friday has everyone saving up and rallying to get the best deals!

Even though it was first created in the US, the concept of Black Friday soon swept into the MENA region as well. What is known as Black Friday in the western world became known as White Friday in MENA.

First introduced in 2014 by the largest e-commerce site in the Arab World, (now known as, White Friday became the go-to method to draw customers and boost their sales.

However, the question remains, is the concept of Black Friday implemented successfully in the MENA region? And are the discounts worth it?


Black Friday was first created in 1960 in Philadelphia as a symbol for the beginning of the Christmas shopping season. The color black comes from the idea that back then black ink indicated profit.

When it comes to the MENA region, we have UAE who was ranked among the biggest spenders on Black Friday in 2018, with a 1913% increase in sales. Discounts this year reached up to 90% in UAE with leading companies like and its rival offering up to 70% and 80% discounts, respectively. 

UAE is not the only big spender on Black Friday. Based on a survey that included people from 14 different countries including Saudi Arabia and the UAE, it was reported that people in UAE and Saudi Arabia plan to spend an average of $400 on Black Friday and Cyber Monday this year. This amount is reportedly higher than global average ranging between $230 and $300. In general, data from the Black Friday in 2019 reports that MENA sales have increased by about 336% with reports suggesting that Amazon increased their workforce in Saudi Arabia to handle the flux in demand. However, even though reports show an increase in sales in the MENA region, some countries are yet to follow the trend of Black Friday. For instance, it was found that retailers in Jordan and Lebanon offer minimal discount percentages compared to the retailers in the GCC. 

When comparing these numbers to the US and western world, one might say that some countries in the region are successfully implementing the Black Friday concept while others may be lagging behind. With the US sales growth amounting to 2103% on Black Friday compared to a regular day, there is no denying that the US revenues may be in the lead. This year’s Black Friday is said to have reached an estimated revenue between $8.9B and $9.6B based on initial data.

Regardless of the discounts' percentages, I believe we can all agree that Black/White Friday is currently shining as a spark of hope for stores struggling from the economic distress caused by the pandemic.

The views/opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of Al Bawaba Business or its affiliates.

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