FEATURE – COVID Tech: ‘E-commerce booming in SA’

Reading Time: 3 minutes

The global war against COVID-19 is central to all developments, as a third of the world remains on lockdown in attempts to conquer it. A few industries stand to benefit by regarding this crisis as an opportunity. One of these is the technology space.

In this series titled, COVID Tech, SABC News’ Tshepiso Moche reports on coronavirus-related tech developments in South Africa and globally. In this edition, he looks at a booming e-commerce merchant that has been growing since many countries were hit by the coronavirus pandemic. The pandemic has forced many people to adopt a new normal, including how many entrepreneurs do their business.

As many economies across the globe continue to feel the effects of COVID-19, South Africa has seen an ‘increase’ in the e-commerce merchants.

The coronavirus pandemic, the internet, and smartphones have all changed the pace of e-commerce.

GetApp SA Customer Experience Survey has found that almost 6 in 10 people report spending more online and less in-store.

However, there are fairly few online stores that are dominating the online shopping space.

Some consumers started using online shopping during the hard lockdown.

The survey reveals a significant number of people who pre-pandemic did not use online delivery on a regular basis.

According to the GetApp survey, this trend is likely to continue.

“In the next six months, 44% will continue spending more online and less in-store, while 27% expect their spending to remain the same for both in-store and online.”

But online shopping has its challenges or disadvantages.

This as some of the participants (61% of respondents) in the survey say some of their biggest challenges when shopping online, were products that were out of stock.

“This was followed by 58% of the respondents who said they had to pay high delivery fees and about 57% of the respondents stated that they experienced a slow delivery of the items they’ve ordered.”

The graph below illustrates how much time people shopping online each week:

Hours spent doing  shopping online each week:

The survey also looked at the number of hours people spent online while doing online shopping.

Thirty percent of respondents reported spending one to two hours, and 35% said they spend between three and five hours online.

Another 26% spend six to 10 hours and 10% spend less than 10 hours each week.

In comparison to time spent online before the lockdown, 48% reported spending between one and two hours, 35% spent three to five hours and 12% spent between six and 10 hours, while 8% spent more than 10 hours shopping on the Internet each week.

Online eCommerce during the festive season:

The festive season is the most important season for many businesses.

It is during this time of the year that most people spend their hard-earned money on holidays and Christmas celebrations.

And according to the survey, this year will see a dramatic difference in consumer spending with 52% indicating that they will spend more online and less in-store, while only 21%, will spend the same in-store and online.

“COVID-19 is a clear factor—whilst responders generally prefer this wasn’t the case, as they feel shopping in-store is an important part of getting into the holiday season spirit. 46% consider this shift to be a good thing due to the added convenience it provides,” explains the survey.

In the video below, Jessica Boonstra of the on-demand grocery delivery service, Yebo Fresh, unpacks the importance of e-commerce spending in townships: