Secondhand sneakers and sugar daddies wanted: what South Africans are searching for online

Image: iStock

Vaseline-aficionado 'Zodwa Wabantu', 'Gynaecologist near me', and 'Halal recipes' were some of last year's most searched for personalities, or topics, according to HuffPost.

And a recent review on internet habits, revealed what they call people's 'guilty pleasure' searches. The list details the most searched for guilty pleasure by country, and the results were very interesting to say the least.

South Africa: Sugar Daddy sites notes that "we put together a list of topics you might type into Google when no one’s looking. Then we cross-referenced that list with Google Trends data to find out which saucy topics people in each country are most likely to search for."

READ MORE: Meghan Markle’s remarkable fashion influence 

Now recently, Teen Vogue reported on the most searched for fashion brands, as gathered by Lyst's search data, a platform used to search thousands of fashion stores for items and trends all in one place. Celebrities like Selena Gomez, Rihanna and Kylie Jenner set the trends along with high-ranking social media influencers. Not even to mention Meghan Markle's influence on fashion. We see it on them, and we want we want they're having. And perhaps steal a tiny slice of their lives for ourselves in a way.

In 2016, French fashion brand Vetements was relatively unknown. Selena Gomez then wore a red tracksuit and Lyst saw searches increase with over 410%. 

Similarly, the data reads that when Kylie Jenner wears Fendi on Instagram, there is an immediate spike, as it becomes one of the most searched for brands of that day or week. 

stormi strolls ??

A post shared by Kylie (@kyliejenner) on

But what are South Africans searching for?

With a lack of data available comparable to Lyst's database, I opted for some results via Gumtree, the online sell-buy site, and searched by country to see what South Africans were looking to buy, be it second-hand or new. 

The top 10 top searched fashion items in South Africa revealed a love for Nike and Timberland, whereas Fossil, adidas and Hunter's boots also rank within the top 40. 

So, in South Africa, when it comes to fashion, brands like Gucci and Vetements might not be at our fingertips, and since we are not as spoiled for choice when it comes to big fashion e-retailers like, say, compared to the U.S., we've been consuming differently. But this is changing. 

According to Fin24 and Efi Dahan, general manager of PayPal in Israel and Africa, "online shopping has been slow to take off in South Africa, but in recent years has picked up steam. The research indicated that 58% of online adults in South Africa shopped online over the past 12 months, amounting to an estimated total spend of R37.1bn. 

And CNN reported end of last year that research firm World Wide Worx found that South African Instagram users increased by a whopping 32 percent between 2016 and 2017. One can surmise that there is a bigger focus on mimicking influencer styles and lifestyles. 

Fashion Breed's Aqeelah Harron (50K followers) says "Much like any form of media, be it newspaper, digital, radio etc, social media influencer platforms are made possible and kept afloat because of advertising." 

Local influencers and agencies who represent them have told us that its easier for many brands to pay influencers to endorse their products, as ad campaigns would've cost way more; and return of investment in terms of sales per post seems to be paying off - i.e. that it translates into sales.  

READ MORE: This is how I make money as an influencer 

Instagram hashtags searches revealed the following in terms of amount of searches:  

Woolworths (124K) 

Mr Price (14.4K)

Edgars (11.3K) 

But when you search these exact brands on Google, you find that Mr Price has the most results via search: 

Mr Price (692 million)
Edgars (223 million) 
Woolworths (17.9 million) 

Big brands like Woolworths are still, according to Business Insider, considered to be one of the top 10 most valuable and consumable brands in South Africa. It seems it will take some time for our local designers to start trending in terms of searches online. Maybe influencers and the rise of e-commerce sites selling local designs might help. 

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