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Research News South Africa

Online spend in SA will hit R45bn in 2018, and consumers are shopping the globe

South Africans are forecasted to spend over R45 billion online this year, with over 60% making a purchase from an overseas retailer. This is according to the fourth annual cross-border e-commerce report released by PayPal and Ipsos, which shows that online shopping is on a steady incline in the country.
Online spend in SA will hit R45bn in 2018, and consumers are shopping the globe
©javitrapero via 123RF

Sixty-nine percent of active online adults shopped online in the past 12 months, bringing the total estimated spend in 2018 to R45.3 billion, showcasing a 19% increase from 2017.

Online shopping is expected to increase even more over the next 24 months, with a forecasted total spend of R61.9 billion in 2020, which will showcase a 36% increase from 2018. The reason – 75% of adults interviewed indicated the convenience of shopping online.

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

The three most popular online shopping categories for South African consumers who shop online were clothing/apparel (53%), entertainment/education (digital/downloadable) (51%) and event tickets (51%).

Global shopping on the rise

Sixty-two percent of South African online shoppers purchased something from an overseas retailer in the last 12 months, compared to 43% in the previous year. Clothing/apparel, footwear and accessories came in as the most common cross-border purchase (68%) with jewellery/watches (62%) second most popular and consumer electronics, computers/tablets/mobiles and peripherals being the third purchase of choice (54%).

“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.

South African online shoppers purchasing from overseas chose the U.S. as their online shopping destination of choice (34%) due to better prices, availability and variety of styles, followed by China (28%) and the UK (16%). The research also indicated that Christmas, Black Friday and seasonal sales are the three top occasions for shopping cross-border more frequently than usual.

Mobile driving growth

The convenience of shopping with a mobile phone is changing the way South Africans approach e-commerce. The research indicated that 62% of online shoppers have used their mobile device for their purchases, resulting in an estimated R14.9 Billion spend in 2018. This is estimated to grow to a R30.4 billion by 2020, doubling in value from 2018.

“Mobile technology is transforming e-commerce in Africa, and consumers are more likely to have a mobile device than a bank account,” continued Dahan. “South Africans are becoming more comfortable with mobile shopping due to easy-to-use apps for ordering car rides or food becoming commonplace.”

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