7 fast facts about the South African ecommerce space

While most of us take for granted the ability to buy and sell goods online, ecommerce still has a long way to go in South Africa.

As a concept, ecommerce has been around for 21 years and in 2014, the industry globally accounted for US$1.5-trillion in sales, and it is expected to top US$2-trillion by the end of 2015. In South Africa, the space is still relatively small, with a value of between R6-7 billion. Right now it accounts for one percent of the country’s retail sector as a whole. What that means is that there’s immense potential for growth.

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That growth is starting to appear too. The local ecommerce sector in South Africa is growing at a rate of between 25 and 35% year-on-year

But what are people using ecommerce platforms for and how much are they spending on those platforms?

Read more: (E)commerce: 5 ways the future of consumer retail is already here

Well, statistics gathered from over 90 000 respondents during the 2015 South African ecommerce Awards survey showed the following:

  • The majority of online shoppers were women aged between 18 to 39;
  • The majority of South Africans spend between R250 and R1000 when making a purchase online.
  • 33% of those surveyed made 10 or more purchases online per year; and
  • 28% of shoppers make online purchases using their mobile phones

Further analysis with PayFast, one of SA’s top payment gateways, found that:

  • The busiest times for online stores was after the 25th of each month;
  • the average basket size in South Africa stood around R725 per order; and
  • That 70% of all online transactions were paid for with a credit/cheque card.

Read more: 6 UX design trends online retailers should be aware of

“eCommerce in constantly evolving in South Africa,” Andy Higgins, MD of uAfrica.com said of this year’s survey results,. The way consumers shop online, and what they buy defines what they expect from online stores. We are seeing online merchants taking up the challenge and evolving with their customers.”

Full results of the survey will be released at this year’s 10th annual South African eCommerce Awards. This year’s Awards ceremony will be hosted by uAfrica.com, in partnership with DPD Laser (a premium ecommerce logistics provider), PayFast, Nedbank and Shopify Plus, on the 16th of September 2015 at Room Five in Rivonia.

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