Mobile shopping is booming with the South African e-commerce 2015 report showing a 100 percent increase in consumers using their mobile devices to purchase products since 2013.
The study compiled by Narratiive showed that South Africans are making regular online purchases at least once a week, up 94 percent from 2013.
According to the report, the shift is due to the increase of people using their mobile devices to visit online websites. The availability of cheap mobile devices means this trend is likely to grow as more people go online.
However, the Narratiive study showed that desktop online shopping dropped from 94.7 percent in 2013 to 63.6 percent last year.
The most active users of online shopping were found to be the group between the ages of 25 and 29, who made up 25 percent of the total.
Johannesburg and Cape Town consumers were also found to be the most active online shoppers, with 24.4 percent and 20.3 percent respectively.
Books, airline tickets and music are the most popular online purchases. South Africans are also likely to buy more from locally based businesses, with kalahari.com (now merged with takelot.com) topping the list with 2 277 636 unique visitors.
OLX country manager Stephen Ballot said mobile usage was exploding due to the apps and services available on smartphones.
“There are between 10 to 15 million South Africans using smartphones. On a monthly basis, we have 2 million consumers using OLX,” he said.
Ballot said in the e-commerce industry, classifieds was one of the most popular online methods consumers used to buy goods.
“Through OLX it’s even easier because it’s cash transactions where people don’t have the hassle of credit cards and they can make extra money,” he said. But Ballot said some of the biggest challenges for mobile growth included that South Africans were still wary of the costs involved when it came to buying online.
The report showed that the two leading causes of consumers choosing not to purchase online was, firstly, that they did not trust online purchase systems, and preferred to physically look and touch an item before buying it.
And while online shopping appears to be on the rise, this also means businesses need to enhance their online services.
World Wide Worx managing director Arthur Goldstuck said: “Less than 10 percent of South Africans make use of online shopping. Consumers want a good online experience which includes their goods being delivered on time.”
Last year, 4.02 percent of online shoppers cited lengthy delivery times as one of the reasons for not purchasing online.
Goldstuck said despite the online retail sector earning R6 billion last year, the retail industry still required more effective strategies to give consumers a better online shopping experience.
Published by Nicolette Dirk, iol.co.za on August 6 2015.