The “Online Retail in South Africa 2019” report:
Local online retail goes mainstream and is set to pass the R14-billion mark this year, marking 1.4% of total retail
Online retail in South Africa is due to pass the R14-billion mark in 2018 as e-commerce begins to go mainstream. This is a key finding of the Online Retail in South Africa 2019 study.
The 2018 figure, which represents 25% growth over 2017, comes as a surprise, given predictions that online retail growth would slow down to below 20% by 2018.
Forecasts have been beaten as a result of massive investments in online retail, aggressive marketing, and the rapid uptake of new shopping channels like mobile shopping and Instagram.
Further, most established online retailers have enhanced their digital presence, and refined their fulfilment models, while many traditional retailers are starting to see significant growth in their online offerings. It is not unusual to see growth rates of between 25% and 50% reported by individual online retailers, with slightly more tempered expectations for 2019 and 2020.
Key online shopping highlights:
Online Retail Growth Speeds Up
Growth in Apparel Accelerates
China Rules Global Online Retail
Customer Centricity Wins
Online tracking tool, Narratiive, has released its South African eCommerce report for 2018. The data is based on a survey of 7,909 South Africans between July and August 2018, with respondents asked questions focusing on their online purchasing frequency, their most commonly purchased products, and what stops them from shopping online.
The data showed that online shopping continues on an upward trend in the country, with 44% of offline shopper survey respondents saying that they anticipate making an online purchase in the next 12 months. In addition, 73% of online shoppers say that they’ve either maintained or increased their online shopping habit in the last 12 months.
What people are buying
The report found that books (10%), travel tickets (10%) and tickets for shows and sporting events (9%) were some of the most frequently bought items in the last 12 months.
Other popular purchases include:
- Clothes and accessories – 7%
Hotel reservations – 7%
DVDs, videos, and music (including CD, K7, MP3’s) – 6%
Health and beauty products – 5%
Software – 5%
When asked how much they spent on their last purchase, 22% said that they spent between R200 – R499, while 19% said that they spent between R500 – R999 and R1000 – R2999 respectively.
When asked how long it took for their last purchase to be delivered:
- 27% said between 3-5 working days
27% said that their delivery was instant
21% said between 1-2 working days
15% waited for longer than 10 days
10% said between 5-10 working days
While some consumers indicated that they were unsatisfied with these delivery times, the majority said that they were ‘very satisfied’ (61%) or ‘fairly satisfied’ (24%).
Part of this satisfaction is likely to stem from the fact that 58% of these customers were charged no fee for this delivery, while just 14% were charged a fee of R50 or more
No‚ say South African online retailers‚ who claim they are ready to fend off system overloads and crashes when thousands of shoppers look for bargains on November 24. Last year shoppers using Takealot.com ran into problems in the checkout process. This year‚ the online retail giant says it has prepared for five times the average payday traffic.
“Our checkout process ran into problems on last year’s Black Friday because the banks’ payment gateway fell over from the surge of online shoppers across the country. The combination of all the retailers running Black Friday sales meant that they simply couldn’t handle the volume of transactions – and we believe we’ve done everything we can to mitigate these challenges this year‚” said Takealot.com chief marketing officer Julie-Anne Walsh.
Fashion retailer Zando.co.za has implemented a “feature freeze” to tackle possible glitches. “We have spent the last few weeks in the lead up to Black Friday preparing our systems which entailed a ‘feature freeze’‚ meaning we have not developed or deployed any new features but instead spent the time on scaling and creating a robust website that will ensure we manage the increased load of Black Friday‚” said Zando.co.za managing director Grant Brown.
Spree’s Black Friday traffic and order volumes have grown by 100% per annum over the last four years. Last year it was one of the few e-commerce sites that did not fall over under the visitor load. “We plan well ahead to ensure that our infrastructure and platforms are able to handle the massive growth and the high peak of concurrent visitors. We have invested a significant amount of time and effort in upgrading and optimising our server capacity and our development team has focused on optimising key areas in the platform codebase‚” said Spree chief information officer Jonathan Muir.
The fashion retailer’s main concern for this Black Friday is the banks’ ability to process the onslaught of credit card payments. “But we have a few contingencies in place to mitigate that risk‚” Muir said. South Africa’s only digital credit product for online shopping‚ Mobicred‚ says its system was built to specifically cater for increased traffic.
World Wide Worx predicts SA’s online retail market will be worth over R9 billion in 2016.
Local retailers are seeing a steady uptick in online shopping numbers as more South Africans embrace e-commerce.
In Pick n Pay and Mr Price’s latest results, both retailers showed strong growth in online sales.
Mr Price says its local online sales grew by 63.6% for the 53 weeks ended 2 April. Mr Price says the online business is now generating positive returns and all its MRP brands are now “full omni-channel retailers”. This as the group saw total revenue for the year grow over 8% to R19.6 billion.
In the year ended 28 February, Pick n Pay saw its strongest turnover growth since 2010. This included a 38% increase in turnover growth from Pick n Pay Online over the year, “with a stronger range and a substantial improvement in product availability”. The team says it is particularly pleased with the growth in demand from its business-to-business (B2B) customers.
“The online business in the Western Cape has benefited from the dedicated picking warehouse established at the Brackenfell Hypermarket last year, and the group will look to invest in a similar solution in the Gauteng region, towards the end of this year,” the group says.
In the 2015 financial year, Pick n Pay also delivered strong double digit e-commerce growth and added 40 000 new online customers.
The Foschini Group says it is investing in its omni-channel roll-out and will launch online sales for Foschini cosmetics, @home furniture as well as the Markham and Fabiani brands this year. This after its sports division brands −Totalsports, Duesouth and Sportscene − launched online selling in the past financial year, which the company says “proved to be successful with results ahead of expectation”.
Massmart says it continues to expand and improve its e-commerce offerings. These are primarily from its DionWired, Makro and Masscash Wholesale stores. Massmart’s results for the 52 weeks ended 27 December 2015 show online sales now represent about 2% of total sales in those categories that form part of the online offering.
“Makro’s customer card data indicates online shoppers continue to visit and shop our stores. We are delighted with the response to our new B2B online commercial customer offering launched in November 2015,” it says.
Massmart says a Massbuild online project “to serve the contractor and professional market” is also in the advanced stages.
Woolworths says food sales comprise the majority of its local online revenue, although stronger growth in clothing and general merchandise is now being experienced. In the 52 weeks to 28 June 2015, Woolworths’ Country Road brand’s online sales contributed close to 10% of total sales, up from 8% the year before.
Woolworths says it continues to invest in innovative digital development focused on digital accessibility and personalisation.
Source: Full Article SA retailers see e-commerce uptick
By Paula Gilbert