Israelis’ Online Purchases Abroad Broke Record in November

7 million packages arrived to Israel during the month of November, thanks to promotions like Black Friday, Cyber Monday and China’s Singles’ Day

An Israel Post sorting center in Modi'in, November 12, 2017.
An Israel Post sorting center in Modi'in, November 12, 2017. Ofer Vaknin

The rate of online purchases made by Israelis through foreign websites broke records in November, as had been expected. The Israel Post reported that 7 million packages from online merchants landed in the country over the course of the month, spurred by China’s Singles’ Day promotions, followed by Black Friday and Cyber Monday.

Officials at the postal service also expect December to be a record-breaking month as packages that were ordered in November continue to arrive, followed by new orders boosted by online Christmas promotions abroad. The Israel Post figures are consistent with data from Israel’s credit card companies, which noted a spike in e-commerce sales as a result of Black Friday promotions.

Cal Israel Credit Cards reported a 76% increase in the number of internet purchases made by its clients last month as compared to November of last year – merchandise collectively worth 19 million shekels ($5.4 million) this year, up from 11 million shekels in 2016. Cal said the average cost of its customers’ online purchases also rose this year by 14% to 185 shekels ($53).

Cal’s credit card competitor Leumicard reported a 16% spike among its customers in their online purchases on Black Friday – November 24 – the day after Thanksgiving in the United States and in some respects still the formal start of the Christmas shopping season there. Its customers’ online overseas purchases were also 26% higher than a normal Friday, Leumicard said. The credit card company estimates that on Black Friday alone, Israelis spent a total of about 80 million shekels on overseas online purchases.

According to eBay, the most popular purchases made by Israelis on Black Friday were smartphones, which generally remain considerably more expensive in Israel than abroad. Samsung 8 and Samsung Note 8 were the most favored models. Second on the list was athletic shoes, with Adidas leading the sales for men and Converse All Stars and New Balance the most popular for women.

Laptop sales on Black Friday were four times the pace of a regular day, with Apple’s MacBooks leading the pack. Also popular were action cameras, such as the GoPro, along with robot vacuum cleaners, smart watches and streaming media players.

Postal service officials predicted that online sales in Israel from the major international e-commerce firms would double in the coming years. “Speed is the name of the game in the [package] delivery world, and if an international firm sets up a logistics center in Israel, it can offer same-day delivery service, something that for us is an opportunity to grow with it and expand our delivery service,” said Haim Mazaki, vice president for operations at Israel Post.