South African consumers are increasingly turning to e-commerce platforms when looking for, comparing and purchasing a variety of items. 26% of respondents from a recent survey made their very first online purchase in June 2015 – a massive recent uptake when compared to the total number of new online shoppers for the period July 2015 – June 2016 (14%).
This is according to Kevin Tucker, founder of PriceCheck – Africa’s largest product discovery and comparison service – who notes that PriceCheck’s recent user survey identified ‘ease and efficiency’ as South African’s most liked aspect of online shopping (53%). This was followed by access to deals and the opportunity to purchase international products and brands.
Tucker says, “58% of respondents shopped online when they spotted a good deal on offer. Not only does this suggest that online shoppingfulfils consumer wants ahead of their needs but it also reveals the nature of local consumers to compare prices across retailers, and e-tailers, before making a purchase.”
“Having shared their reasons for choosing to shop online, the vast majority – 95% – of respondents further stated that they would continue to shop online moving forward. Only 15 respondents, which does not even amount to 1%, said they would no longer shop online with 5% uncertain of whether they would do so again.”
“Such positive feedback suggests that many first-time shoppers will be shopping online again in future and may, in fact, become regular e-commerce customers. In addition, as consumers are presented with more e-commerce offerings and brick and mortar stores join in – having found easier access to trading online through umbrella platforms such as PriceCheck Marketplace – online shopping numbers are likely to continue on an upward trend,” he explains.
In terms of safety, 78% of those surveyed noted that they feel safe using their credit card online. “This plays a major role in consumer participation and is a good reflection of the efforts made by the industry in utilising secure payment options.”
“Most online users – 55% – opt for debit card payments. However, portals such as PayPal and SnapScan have gained the trust of many with 21% and 13% of respondents selecting these options respectively,” says Tucker.
The delivery time of orders, according to Tucker, is a major influencer when it comes to which e-tailers consumers favour. “South Africans are likely to choose local suppliers with the quickest delivery record.”
Tucker explains that most respondents preferred to shop locally, or both locally and internationally. “When South African online shoppers do choose to shop internationally, they tend to prefer the USA (49%) and the UK (27%).”
“Overall, shopping locally online came out on top. 47% and 41% of respondents rated their local online shopping experience four out of five and five out of five stars respectively. This is compared to 44% and 31% for international online shopping experiences within the same rating categories.”
“While South Africa may have been slow on the initial uptake of online shopping, current consumer behaviour – as presented through our findings – suggests that the efficiency and convenience provided by e-commerce platforms will soon result in this option being just as common within our communities as traditional shopping trips are today,” Tucker concludes.