By the end of 2016 South Africans will have spent as much as R19 million with online retailers using a mobile phone according to a report by Ipsos and PayPal.

Last year, Ipsos found that South Africans had spent as much as R28.8 billion while shopping online and this figure is expected to grow to R37 billion by the end of 2016, an increase of more than 70%.

The report goes on to forecast that because of increased smartphone penetration around the country, shoppers will spend R19 billion online using a mobile by the end of 2017.

While the 59% of shoppers prefer to shop online locally, 37% of online shoppers are turning to international online retailers to get what they can’t find here.

“Though international shopping is still less popular locally, with the growing variety of products, larger range of prices, improved shipping options and increasing confidence in ecommerce, we believe that South African consumers will continue to purchase online, regardless of physical borders,” PayPal Regional Director for Africa and Israel, Efi Dahan said in a statement.

What South Africans are buying abroad

Digital goods, fashion and electronics are among the biggest reasons South Africans are shopping abroad. Electronics alone account for 30% of online purchases though you should be aware of things like warranties periods if you plan on importing a smartphone.

Aside from warranties, payment methods and delivery costs are among the biggest barriers that cause people to hesitate before clicking “Add to cart”.

The report found that 53% of online shoppers would buy from an international online retailer if there was free shipping, while 52% said if there was a safer way to pay they would shop internationally more frequently.

All of this information does lead us to ask you, do you shop online and do you prefer to shop locally or abroad? As always, let us know in the comments.

[Source – PayPal] [Image – CC BY/2.0 Robbert Noordzij]


Brendyn Lotz writes news, reviews, and opinion pieces for Hypertext. His interests include SMEs, innovation on the African continent, cybersecurity, blockchain, games, geek culture and YouTube.