PayPal and Ispos released their fourth annual cross-border eCommerce report today and it makes for some rather interesting reading.

The pair conducted interviews earlier in the year, looking at the ecommerce space in 31 different markets across the globe including South Africa, and getting responses from 34 052 consumers about their online shopping behaviours.

Their findings identify that ecommerce and online shopping has increased significantly in 2018, with a 69 percent rise in online active adults over the past 12 months. That increase in consumers also had a positive effect on the projected spend for the year, with it estimated at R45.3 billion, up 19 percent compared to 2017.

The reason for the increase is down the lessening of barriers as far as access to data and cost of mobile devices goes, says PayPal.

“Advances in technology, such as mobile technology and access to data, have made it easier for South Africans to shop online,” adds Efi Dahan, GM for PayPal Eastern Europe, Middle East and Africa.

Looking at the data in a bit more detail, PayPal notes that the three most popular online shopping categories are clothing/apparel, entertainment/education and event tickets.

South African online shoppers are also looking to do more of their purchasing from overseas ecommerce sites. Over the past 12 months cross-border purchases have increased to 62 percent, with the previous period sitting at 43 percent.

“South African online shoppers have realised that buying from overseas is not the hassle it once was, and that they can purchase must have items, often at a better price,” adds Dahan.

While we must agree with the PayPal GM that purchasing online has gotten a lot easier, as more sites are now delivering to South Africa, dealing with local customs and courier companies can still be quite frustrating in our experience.

There are also concerns with regard to actually receiving the product as it was advertised online, along with a sometimes lengthy and complicated returns process.

This is where PayPal’s aims for its platform to step in and ease some of the stress, citing its Buyer Protection or Refunded Returns policies.

It seems to be doing the trick too, with 69 percent of respondents in the recent survey stated that PayPal is their most trusted online payment platform.

As for how online shopping will increase in coming years, PayPal estimates spend to grow to R61 billion in 2020.

[Image CC 0 Pixabay]