With lockdown still in effect shopping online remains a popular, and safe, way to buy what you need without risking infection. Putting some solid numbers behind the online shopping habits is payment gateway PayFast, which has just released information about local transactions.

The company has been tracking habits between January and June 2020. Of particular interest is the age of those doing the shopping.

“The ecommerce boom was bound to happen, but COVID-19 definitely accelerated industry growth. We’ve seen adoption rates soar following on from the lockdown, this has occurred across age groups. Habits formed now are going to continue in the future,” states Jonathan Smit, managing director and founder of PayFast.

Without putting labels on any groups, those aged 18-24 showed the largest increase in online shopping when compared to 2019. Surprisingly the second fastest growing group is those aged 55-64, which highlights the fact that just about everyone was going online during lockdown.

Those aged 25-34 showed a lower growth rate compared to the others, but still represent the largest number of online shoppers.

Image – PayFast

Another surprise can be found in the peak time for shopping online, which is between 11:00 and 12:00. This is around lunchtime when those in offices would usually do personal things on their desktops, but with so many now working from home this looks to be a force for habit.

Mobile peak time is different, however, between 18:00 and 19:00. Smit theorises that this time is popular as people are off from work during this period and are using their phones while watching something else on a separate screen.

Comparing the two and mobile online shopping has grown a massive 159 percent year-on-year, with desktop at only 37 percent.

Regardless of who you are, your age, or how you choose to shop, lockdown has changed how commerce works in South Africa. This change may be temporary, but we doubt things will go back to how they were should lockdown be lifted.

“Over the lockdown period, we saw mobile payments increase by as much as 42% compared to the same period before lockdown started. Desktop sessions only increased by 22%, showing that most consumers resorted to using their smartphones for online shopping while in lockdown,” concludes Smit.

Image – PayFast
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