Festivals and Events

Reflections on a Decade of Shopping El Buen Fin

Ten years after Mexico introduced its version of the ‘Black Friday’ shopping event, Foreign Native reflects on its relevance amidst increasing online sales

El Buen Fin sign on a store

Mexico’s version of the Black Friday/Cyber Monday shopping event —called El Buen Fin— turns 10 this year. As in 2020, the dates have been extended from the original four days over the Revolution Day long-weekend holiday in order to discourage overcrowding at stores and malls.

Each year since its inception in 2011, more retailers and service providers have joined in the event, which is coordinated by the federal government and various business associations.

The past decade has coincided with a rapid increase in the number of people in Mexico buying goods online, and this year it’s expected that online sales will continue to increase.

According to surveys carried out by the Mexican online sales association (AMVO), three of every 10 people who intend to take advantage of the discounts and special offers will buy online for the first time. This willingness to acquire goods through electronic means reflects increasing trust in online markets and the ever-improving network of delivery systems that get goods to customers more quickly and make returns straightforward, and convenient.

The AMVO surveys revealed that seven out of 10 people plan to buy both online and in stores, while 27% said they would only buy online and 3% said they would only buy in stores. One caveat: the surveys were conducted online, so it would exclude many people who not only don’t shop online, but also wouldn’t take part in an online survey.

Most of Mexico’s large retail chains have online shopping options, although the efficiency of their delivery services varies considerably. The best way to find out is to ask a frequent online buyer, preferably a millennial, as they just know these things. They also have an additional advantage in that they will probably also look up and compare Black Friday offers on sites like Amazon and Mercado Libre.

This year’s El Buen Fin is scheduled to run from Wednesday, November 10th through Tuesday, November 16th. Revolution Day is actually on Nov. 20th, but the holiday is marked on the third Monday of the month, which this year is the 15th. The US Black Friday event falls on November 26th this year.

As usual, the most popular articles for online shoppers —according to the same surveys— are likely to be clothing, electronic goods, home appliances and cell phones, followed by personal care items, booking travel, and toys. Only 1% of those surveyed said they would use the event to make advance purchases, such as getting an early start on Christmas shopping.

El Buen Fin has been criticized in the past for the lack of giveaway prices like the ones that lead shoppers to line up overnight in the US and make a mad rush when the doors open. A typical complaint of people surveyed in Mexico is that the offers aren’t all that attractive, or that they’re often restricted to interest-free months of credit if they use certain banks’ credit cards for the purchase.

Nevertheless, people do find worthwhile discounts, and some people will delay the purchase of big-ticket items including domestic appliances and home improvement materials like tiles and blinds as well as bathrooms and kitchens to see what offers are presented during El Buen Fin.

In 2020, when capacity restrictions at malls and stores were still in effect in many places, sales were estimated at 239 billion pesos (about US$12 billion), and organizers expect this year’s event to exceed that, especially as the Covid “traffic light” is on “green” in most of the country.

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