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[eCommerce Africa Confex] Get mobile with mpayments

An obsession with social media means we are permanently attached to a mobile device, so it's logical that this is where the future of financial services delivery lies.
[eCommerce Africa Confex] Get mobile with mpayments
© Anastasy Yarmolovich – 123RF.com

Speaking at the eCommerce Africa Confex, Mel Gischen, Marketing Manager of PayU, explains how consumer behaviour is already playing a role in driving innovation in the mobile payment arena.

Consumer behaviour

You don’t really need statistics to support this assertion, just walk through any public space or sit in the traffic. But nonetheless the empirical data supports this.

Gischen uses a report by Deloitte entitled Global mobile consumer: Rise of the always connected consumer (2015), to show more and more consumers are using their mobile devices while:

  • shopping (92%)
  • dining out (81%)
  • watching TV (87%)
  • talking to family and friends (87%)
  • during their leisure time (89%).

“In addition they check their mobiles multiple times a day. The 18-24-year-old category look at their phones a remarkable 74 times a day, while 50% of all ages check their phone one last time 15 minutes before going to sleep,” she says.

Driven by social media

There is also no getting away from the fact that social media is responsible. Take just one channel for example.

Out of a population of 54 million,13 million South Africans are Facebook users and of this number, 10 million access the platform from a mobile device (77%).

What do all these numbers mean?

So from all these statistics, Gischen draws three conclusions about e-commerce, namely:

  1. Consumers are driven by social networking, accessible via mobile.

  2. Consumers are “always on”, therefore driving when and how businesses need to service them.

  3. Consumers are after immediate access. They expect instant service, so a site needs to load fast and have a mobile channel.


By extension, mobile payments are the next big step for meeting consumers’ needs and this is borne out by the offline wallet explosion in South Africa through apps such as SnapScan.

“In-store payments increased by four times, from 5% in 2014 to 18% in 2015. But this is mostly for small purchases such as.paying for parking, buying petrol, fast food and coffee shops and public transport,” says Gischen.

But there is still a reluctance to use mpayments for bigger purchases, mainly related to security.

Industry changes as a result of a consumer behaviour shift

  • Innovative products are being launched to capture this opportunity
  • There will be winners and losers
  • Seamless blend of online and offline payments for consumers
  • Focus on making transactions more personalised, flexible and easier for the end user, while offering businesses the potential for more transactions and greater customer loyalty over time
  • Started encroaching on banks’ core business
  • Significant venture capital driving disruption

Three innovation trends

  1. Digitisation of payments
  2. This trend is being led by convenience, with users wanting easier card transactions and to be rewarded for their loyalty.

    Cash convergence is also growing with electronic cash being sent: from person to person and to traditional retailers.

  3. Fintech adoption
  4. The global space is already contested with multiple innovative players, and traditional banks are feeling the pressure to adapt by start-ups.

  5. Big data
  6. Everything is going digital, which means deep analytics on consumer behaviour are available. All of this is feeding into better insight for businesses to better service their customers

Gischen sums up: “As an e-commerce vendor, it is essential to recognise that consumers are obsessed with mobile. That the future is mobile. And that payments and services will be mobile led.

The eCommerce Africa Confex took place at the CTICC on 17-18 February.

About Nicci Botha

Nicci Botha has been wordsmithing for more than 20 years, covering just about every subject under the sun and then some. She's strung together words on sustainable development, maritime matters, mining, marketing, medical, lifestyle... and that elixir of life - chocolate. Nicci has worked for local and international media houses including Primedia, Caxton, Lloyd's and Reuters. Her new passion is digital media.

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