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6 reasons why South African consumers hesitate to embrace online shopping

The e-commerce industry has witnessed remarkable growth in recent years, establishing itself as a significant player in the retail market. Nevertheless, a substantial portion of the South African population remains cautious about fully embracing the digital marketplace.
6 reasons why South African consumers hesitate to embrace online shopping

Based on a recent poll conducted using KLA's YourView tool, the following are the top reasons why consumers in South Africa are hesitant to shop online:

    1. Security concerns (44%) A staggering 44% of respondents expressed concerns about the security of their personal and financial information while shopping online. Security threats, including scams and phishing attacks, deter many South Africans from engaging in online shopping, as they feel safer in physical stores.
    2. Shipping costs and time (19.6%) For 19.6% of respondents, the extra costs and lengthy delivery times associated with shipping are a significant deterrent to online shopping. They believe that the convenience of ordering from home is outweighed by the advantages of visiting a physical store and leaving with a purchased item immediately.
    3. Physical inspection (13.8%) Approximately 13.8% of respondents still value the sensory experience of touching or trying on items, especially clothing, before making a purchase. Online shopping's inability to provide this experience is a key reason why consumers opt for physical stores.
    4. Returns and exchanges (11.3%) 11.3% of respondents are hesitant to shop online due to concerns about the difficulty of returning or exchanging items. E-commerce retailers need to simplify their return policies and enhance transparency to address these apprehensions effectively.
    5. Lack of trust (7.1%) A lack of trust in online retailers is another significant factor, cited by 7.1% of respondents. To build trust, online retailers should establish a strong track record of customer satisfaction, offer efficient customer service, and provide transparent information about products and services.
    6. Technology barrier (3.8%) While this percentage may seem small, it represents a significant number of potential buyers who find the intricacies of online shopping intimidating. Ensuring a user-friendly interface and a seamless online shopping experience can bridge this technology gap.

The future of South African online shopping

Despite these challenges, there are strategies to ease consumer concerns and build trust in the online marketplace:

  • Enhance website security by implementing secure payment gateways and visible security badges.
  • Attract customers with free or discounted shipping options to address cost concerns.
  • Implement clear, customer-friendly return policies to build trust and confidence.
  • Improve product information, photos, and customer reviews to help shoppers make informed decisions.
  • Provide responsive and empathetic customer support throughout the online shopping journey.

In conclusion, addressing these six factors and highlighting the benefits of e-commerce will be crucial in increasing the number of South Africans who choose to shop online. By proactively addressing consumer concerns, the South African e-commerce landscape is poised to thrive in the years ahead. For more information, visit

4 Oct 2023 10:04

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