South Africa’s internet denizens shop online in the mornings and when they’re bored

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This morning One Day Only presented findings from its annual ODOmeter survey which gauges how South Africans are (or aren’t) using ecommerce.

The survey is, however, incredibly limited in its scope. One Day Only only surveyed folks who are already online and this particular iteration of the survey only drew from 9 000 respondents.

As such the stats that follow are based on folks who are extremely online.

This showcased in responses to the question “How much time do spend online?”. The majority of respondents – 38 percent – spend more than three hours online per day which seems like a low bar to us given we’re already three hours into the working day, but we’ve been online since 06:00 for example.

What we do find interesting, however, is the how often respondents are shopping online.

In One Day Only’s results, six percent of respondents said they shopped online daily while 17 percent said they shopped online two to three times a week. While ecommerce is growing, most shoppers in the ODOmeter shop online once a week or once a month, 32 percent and 33 percent respectively. Only one percent of respondents said they don’t shop online at all which is not indicative of the national landscape.

When asking those 90 respondents why they don’t shop online, the majority said they prefer the physical experience while 26 percent said they don’t trust online payments. Most curious for us is the 24 percent of respondents who said they don’t know how to shop online.

When it comes to why respondents shop online, 51 percent chose convenience as the reason why 31 percent said some items were cheaper online.

Looking at what respondents are buying online, tech products are the most popular while fashion, appliances and food all out perform other items. These figures appear to be largely driven by the lockdown South Africa is still experiencing. While food seems bizarre, considering the popularity of food delivery apps and the sheer number of grocery delivery services now offered by retailers, it makes sense.

“What surprised us though was that alcohol only drew a 25% response whereas we saw a significant spike in online sales both during and after the booze ban. This indicates potential growth opportunity in online alcohol sales,” says digital and performance marketing manager at One Day Only, Jessica van der Westhuyzen.

But by far the most interesting slice of data garnered by One Day Only is when respondents choose to shop.

As many as 38 percent said that mornings were their preferred shopping time while evenings were chosen by 23 percent. The highest percentage of responses, however, were “when I’m bored or have time”.

Director at One Day Only, Laurian Venter, likened this to social media where users will hop on when they have a few moments to kill. This can present an opportunity to retailers who want to leverage this, but it does have us wondering out loud how many ecommerce purchases are impulse buys.

As for which device respondents prefer using we were surprised to learn that while folks like browsing on a mobile phone app, they will revert to a desktop when making a payment.

While this could indicate that folks are more comfortable using a desktop for payments, it’s also a sign that retailers – especially in the ecommerce space – need to focus on education regarding secure payment methods.

“This shows the importance of continually educating new users on the level of compliance and governance our business undertakes with our secure payment options and why we have the variation of payment platforms available to our customers. It also helps us evolve our FAQs and infotainment strategies that make it easy for our customers to engage with and have conversations with us,” adds van der Westhuyzen.

As mentioned, this survey doesn’t give us a full picture of South Africa’s ecommerce sector, but it is nice to see a small slice of how things are going.

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Brendyn Lotz

Brendyn Lotz

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.