Only a few years ago, the world e-commerce was a little known entity to most South Africans, let alone the trendy tech and fashion crowd that graced our creative industries. Yet, this diverse industry has become a national wonder, and a grand success story. Today, brands like Superbalist, Takealot.com, Zando, Amazon and Spree are paving the way for e-commerce to go even more mainstream.
According to Kevin Tucker, founder of PriceCheck, Africa’s largest product discovery and comparison service, “E-commerce, as a global trend in its own right, is set to increase in popularity and consumer uptake in South Africa each and every year. This is as a result of a number of supporting trends, from greater variety offered by e-tailers, to the evolution of tech offerings – such as shopping apps – and the profile and behaviour of shoppers themselves.”
Many retailers who have brick-and-mortar stores are also turning to e-commerce to boost their sales. Shopping apps are popping up left, right and centre, making it even easier to use your credit card in a virtual store than ever before. Shopping online makes it easy and convenient for consumers to spend money, taking out the hassle of going to the mall, visiting a designated store, and concluding a sale, all of which needs to be done during normal shopping business hours.
South Africa’s Conditions Are Favourable for an e-Commerce Breakthrough
For many South Africans who have access to the internet, online shopping has become easy to embrace. But what about the many South Africans who don’t have access to the internet? Internet saturation is on the increase in South Africa, setting the groundwork for a perfect e-commerce storm to hit the country within the next few years.
More and more South Africans are enjoying access to the internet, with a majority of South Africa’s current 21 million internet users accessing it through their mobile phones. This could explain the popularity of shopping apps, made famous by tech giants like Takealot.com and Zando, who do a great deal of their businesses through their apps.
Proof that South African consumers are amenable to global phenomena in e-commerce is the incredible success of Cyber Monday, and Black Friday in recent years. Websites are crashing, and people are refreshing websites for days to make sure they’re the first to nab fantastic promotions. If this is anything to go by, South Africa is at the precipice of a major fourth industrial revolution, and forward-thinking brands will be plotting their survival in this revolution.