What recession? South Africans shop up a storm online
Baby and kiddie products top list as weak economy fails to curb SA's online spending habits
The online shopping habits of South Africans do not reflect the nose-diving economy, according to a survey report by online payment system PayPal.
It also shows that most of the spending is on baby and children supplies.
The survey was designed to gain insight into how online commerce, specifically cross-border commerce, is evolving, and how and why consumers shop online domestically and across borders.
“Online shopping has opened a world of opportunities for online shoppers to source from various markets and retailers across the world,” says Efi Dahan, general manager for PayPal Russia, the Middle East and Africa.
“In fact, 69% of active online adults shopped online in the past 12 months, bringing the total estimated spend in 2018 to R45.3bn.”
SA online shoppers buying from overseas chose the US as their shopping destination of choice (34%) owing to better prices, availability and variety of styles, followed by China (28%) and the UK (16%).
According to the report, the forecasted growth estimated in total online spend for 2018 is for baby and children supplies.
Though there was a forecasted total spend of R61.9bn in 2020 – a 36% increase from 2018 – some shoppers had reservations.
“Over 30% of online shoppers are concerned that they may not receive their purchased item when shopping cross-border, and 24% (are concerned) about a difficult returns process,” said Dahan.
“In addition, 24% of online shoppers have concerns about identity theft and fraud, and the security of their financial details when shopping domestically.”
Shoppers preferred the US, China and the UK because they had better prices, they could access products that are not available in their country, and were able to discover new and interesting products.
“General drivers for domestic shopping habits were the total cost, including shipping, was cheap, free shipping and secure ways to pay,” said Dahan.
In terms of barriers, the survey found that people who generally spent less online did so because they wanted to save money due to changes in the economy, changes in disposable income and security issues.
“Over 30% of online shoppers surveyed were concerned that they may not receive their purchased item when shopping cross-border. However, should consumers use PayPal, they can address these concerns through PayPal’s Buyer Protection offering, (which) protects the shopper should their item not reach them,” he added.
Online shopping site Takealot received about 49% of domestic sales.
On behalf of PayPal, Ipsos interviewed a representative quota sample of 34,052 adults from the age of 18 who use an Internet-enabled device in each of 31 countries or markets.
Interviews were conducted online between March 13 and May 1 2018. Of the 34,052 respondents, 30,698 were online shoppers, and among them 16,706 were cross-border shoppers.
Domestic items mostly bought (percentage of overall sales)
• Clothing/apparel, footwear and accessories 53%;
• Entertainment/education (digital/downloadable/online) (51%);
• Event tickets such as for the cinema, theatre, concerts, sport (51%);
• Travel and transport (45%).
Cross-border items mostly bought (percentage of overall sales)
• Clothing/apparel, footwear and accessories (68%);
• Jewellery/watches (62%);
• Consumer electronics, computers/tablets/mobiles and peripherals (54%);
• Toys (54%).