Online shopping catches up in SA

2012-04-18 11:24

Online shopping in South Africa is on the rise, with the majority of active internet users saying they shop on the net, according to a study released today.

“Among those shopping online, a majority 89% of respondents are satisfied with their overall online shopping experience, with 73% likely to make a purchase in the next six months,” general manager of SA MasterCard Worldwide, Anna Jones, said today.

“While these responses have remained static since last year, they show that the level of satisfaction has remained consistent as the number of online shoppers has grown.”

The survey measured consumers’ tendency to shop online. It was conducted across 25 markets between December 5 and January 6. It surveyed banked consumers who accessed the internet at least once a week.

Arthur Goldstuck, managing director of World Wide Worx, said: “We have shown that, once people are experienced internet users and go online regularly, their propensity to shop online increases dramatically.

“The key is to convert that propensity into shopping behaviour, and this survey pinpoints where and why that conversion is happening.”

World Wide Worx conducts yearly studies on the size of the online retail market.

According to the survey, consumers chose their online retailer based on lower prices (91%), payment convenience (90%) and secure payment facilities (90%).

The most popular purchases made online were products and services related to coupon or deal sites, online gaming, applications, music downloads and tickets to arts or music events.

South Africans who shopped online said they did so because they found it convenient and easy, and the wide range of goods appealing.

The survey showed that 78% of online shoppers looked at online reviews before they purchased, while 73% said that they investigated online reviews of the retailer themselves before buying.

About 74% of respondents said they would return to an online retailer they had already used.

Goldstuck said: “Many people now conduct product research online before making a purchase in-store.

“Retailers that avoid the virtual option for fear of cannibalisation of customers are in fact missing out on a powerful driver of traffic through their physical stores.”

However, the survey showed that South Africans preferred not to shop online for their groceries. Only 9% purchased groceries online to avoid “the chore of grocery shopping”.

“We’ve also found that online grocery shopping has declined, mainly because people want to choose fresh products personally. (Also), delivery schedules are too inflexible and too many mistakes are made by in-store stock pickers,” said Goldstuck.

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