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We all know that online auction sites are a great place to find a deal on a whole host of products. With a bit of luck, Electronics, games and DVDs can all be found for a fraction of their original price. According to the latest figures from South African online auction site bidorbuy, furniture is playing an increasingly important role in the world of online buying.
The site’s figures state that shoppers spent over ZAR1.1-million (US$140 000) on new and antique furniture for their homes and gardens in August.
Of this, R 700 000 (US$ 89 000) went to various pieces of contemporary furniture, almost all of them brand new. The top sellers, in terms of value, were beds, lounge suites, armchairs, sofas and dining room tables and chairs, in that order.
Antique chairs, stools and footstools accounted for the bulk of the ZAR350 000 (US$ 44 000) spent on antiques. They were followed by cabinets, tables, cupboards, sofas, and dressers.
The reaming ZAR70 000 (US$ 9 000) appears to have been spent by shoppers preparing for the upcoming South African summer, with buyers purchasing patio tables, chairs, loungers, awnings and umbrellas.
“Antiques traditionally fare well on the site”, says bidorbuy CEO Jaco Jonker. “Regarding the contemporary, out-of-the-box furniture, the increase in sales is consistent with the shift towards trading in brand new items on the site”. He explains that this trend is most noticeable with consumer goods such as cell phones, electronics, and computers.
“Still, the excellent performance of furniture sales on the site did surprise us a little, because of the conventional belief that people like to touch, feel and sit on beds or couches before buying them. However, it seems that the advantages of shopping online are taking precedence and changing shopping habits,” he added.
Jonker believes that the vast selection of merchandise and the potential for low prices are what lies behind the success of furniture sales on the site.
“There is also the element of convenience”, he adds. “Be it noon or midnight, buyers can browse through the furniture listed on bidorbuy, easily and quickly compare prices, and buy a piece from a seller down the street or from a seller residing in the other part of the country.”
As for sellers, many of whom are dealers or retailers, the bidorbuy CEO says that they have a strong incentive to offer their wares on bidorbuy, often at discounted prices: “By listing on the site, sellers diversify their distribution channels and reach a large audience of shopping enthusiasts