Every morning alongside the news websites and social media we like to visit our favourite online stores in search of a deal that may have popped up overnight.
This habit started last year when ecommerce was allowed to operate unfettered during the height of the strictest lockdown in South Africa.
As it turns out, we weren’t alone as results from the Online Retail in South Africa 2021 study showcases.
The study was conducted by World Wide Worx with support from Mastercard, Standard Bank and Platinum Seed.
The headline of that study is that online retail in South Africa throughout 2020 grew 66 percent to R30.2 billion.
To put this figure into context, in 2018 online retail brought in R14.1 billion which represented 1.4 percent of total retail which stood at an estimated R1.07 trillion.
It’s currently estimated that retail across all channels fell 4.2 percent to R1.05 trillion in 2020 but the percentage of online retail sales actually grew to 2.8 percent, double where it was in 2018.
“While equivalent growth cannot be expected for 2021, it can be stated fairly confidently that it will exceed the 30 percent growth of 2019, when expansion was organic and a factor of the evolution of shopping habits and retail strategies,” explains World Wide Worx managing director Arthur Goldstuck.
Online retail is expected to grow to R42 billion in 2021 and the volume in respect to the wider retail ecosystem is expected to reach four percent.
In terms of growth aside from airtime and data, clothing and groceries saw the highest growth of 56 percent and 54 percent respectively.
Looking at other growth areas, it should come as no surprise that entertainment was high on the list of priorities for many folks. As many as 52 percent of consumers surveyed for this study said they had spent more on virtual experiences than before the pandemic and lockdown struck. Virtual cooking classes were popular among 47 percent of respondents and 88 percent said they’d participated in a video call for work or leisure. Zoom and Microsoft are surely chuffed with themselves.
As an aside, this data based on a target group index consumer survey of 16 000 respondents conducted by Ask Afrika over a period of six months.
While 2020 was unique, consumers have formed habits that are here to stay.
“This trend appears to be here to stay as 71 percent of respondents say they will continue to shop online post-pandemic,” says country manager for Mastercard South Africa, Suzanne Morel.
“Now more than ever people need access to the digital economy and all of us at Mastercard are constantly working to make the online shopping experience more inclusive, simple, seamless and secure for everyone, whether you’re shopping for essentials or experiences,” adds Morel.
[Image – CC 0 Pixabay]