10 things you never knew about South African online shoppers

While it is no secret that online shopping is a growing trend in South Africa, we came across some surprising facts about these shoppers and their online spending habits in the latest E-commerce Industry Report.

1. 25% of South Africa’s online shoppers are over 60 years old
According to latest research online shopping is not only limited to tech-savvy millennials. It may come as a surprise but in fact, most online shoppers are above 35 years old due to their large numbers and higher incomes. While Millennials still spend more on e-commerce annually than any other age group it is crucial for online retailers to recognize that Generation X and Baby Boomers have adopted online shopping habits too.

2. Over 55% of online shoppers are male
Overall online shopping preference is still relatively evenly split by gender. Traditionally women have driven shopping trends by controlling household spending, however, recently there have been more and more men shopping online. While some women still prefer the in-store experience, e-commerce has provided an easy solution for men to avoid hours traipsing around malls and offered them a more streamlined shopping experience.

3. The most popular online purchases are instant
People love instant gratification which is now reflected in their online shopping habits. There has been a rise in popularity for purchasing items online which are available instantly and don’t require waiting for delivery, such as travel tickets, e-books, event tickets and hotel reservations.

4. Convenience and price are the biggest motivations for shopping online
People seeking to maximize their productivity have discovered online shopping is the most efficient life hack of all time. They simply read a couple reviews, do a quick price comparison, drop products in the basket, pay and they’re done. There are cost benefits to shopping online too thanks to competitive prices, web savings and exclusive discount codes. Reliable click and collect services like Pargo also ensure consumers never have to miss a delivery again by conveniently collecting parcels in store and on-the-go, making online shopping an even more hassle-free, enjoyable experience.

5. Mornings and after work are prime online shopping times
While lunch breaks may seem like the perfect time to browse and shop online, in fact 25% of online shopping in South Africa actually takes place from 9am-12pm. As expected, a further 28% of online purchases occur in the evening, after work hours or when commuting home, from 6-9pm.

6. Flexible delivery is a key incentive for online shoppers
While most online stores offer free delivery if you spend over a certain amount, 19% of online shoppers agreed cheaper or more flexible delivery would make them shop online more. Due to unreliable postal services and the challenges of courier service deliveries, startup companies like Pargo offering convenient pickup points have been on the rise, enabling e-commerce growth in South Africa.

7. Fear of the unknown stops 25% from shopping online
Leaving the comfort zone of offline shopping seems challenging for some. Key concerns include technological issues, fear of missing a delivery and a surprising 25% of offline shoppers say they are not shopping online “because they are just not used to it”. Market adoption may take some extra time for those who struggle to embrace change but improved delivery methods and a more convenient shopping experience could convert sceptics.

8. Online shopping in South Africa contributes 1% of total retail sales
E-commerce currently accounts for only 1% of total retail sales in South Africa, but it is growing at a massive rate. This indicates that traditional shopping habits still reign supreme in South Africa however, there is a large potential for further industry growth and customer conversion in years to come.

9. Full-time workers and retirees are South Africa’s main online shoppers
Research shows that people who work full time or are retired are the most likely online shoppers in South Africa, presumably for quite different reasons. While full-time employees are under time constraints and will seek to maximize productivity in their day, retired people might like shopping online out of convenience and prefer the ability to compare a range of products in one place.

10. 47% of offline shoppers will shift online in the next year
Almost half of the South African population think they will change their shopping habits going forward, with 47% of offline shoppers believing they will make an online purchase in the next 12 months. This is an encouraging prediction for the market and if combined with fewer barriers to purchase, such as flexible and reliable delivery, safe payment methods and a convenient shopping experience, we could see the majority of the country shopping online in the near future.

Resources: E-Commerce Industry Report