- The Online Retail in South Africa 2023 study has been released by World Wide Worx and Mastercard today.
- The study reveals that older South Africans have moved away from online shopping since the pandemic.
- South Africans with a tertiary education also tend to shop online more than those who have less than a Matric qualification.
The lockdown that South Africa experienced in 2020 brought with it an understandable surge in the growth of ecommerce. In a bid to avoid COVID-19, South Africans embraced shopping from home but that attitude has changed since things started reopening.
This according to the Online Retail in South Africa 2023 study released by World Wide Worx and Mastercard today. The study includes analysis of the Target Group Index survey conducted by Ask Africa. This survey interviews 16 000 locals every six months to gather data including: consumption (product, brands and the media), purchasing behaviour, attitudes, motivations and beliefs.
“This survey provides the most detailed demographic breakdown of online shopping available in the country,” World Wide Worx said in a press release.
The results of the Online Retail in South Africa 2023 study reveal a 40 percent growth in the number of people shopping online. However, as we alluded to above, the split of who is and isn’t shopping online has shifted since 2020.
Older South Africans 65-years old and up aren’t shopping online as much. The data shows that only 19 percent of folks in this age group are shopping online. Conversely, 41 percent of those 64 years and older prefer shopping in-store.
By comparison, only 24 to 30 percent of other age groups prefer shopping in-store.
The analysis did, however, find that the older a respondent was, the less inclined they were to shop online.
“One conclusion that we can draw from the research is that online shopping is strongly correlated with age, but with the youngest age group constrained by lack of earning ability,” explains country manager of Mastercard Southern Africa, Gabriel Swanepoel. “A second conclusion is that the oldest age group has a strong reticence towards online shopping, which is backed up by another finding that this bracket is the most likely to still prefer in-store shopping experiences.”
Further to this, Swanepoel says that retailers should take heed of this study as it will help inform where to place their efforts when trying to attract customers.
As for the gender split of online shoppers, men dominate with 41 percent shopping online compared to 36 percent of women. This, the study suggests, is because of the tendency men have to buy electronics frequently. Curiously however, the markets that are seeing the largest growth when it comes to ecommerce are groceries and apparel.
“These may well include elements like male control of household budgets and men being more likely to have a credit card in a household,” explains World Wide Worx chief executive officer, Arthur Goldstuck.
“It shows that outmoded societal norms die hard,” he adds.
Finally, the study found that the higher the education of a South Africa, the more they tend to shop online. The Online Retail in South Africa 2023 study found that only 20 percent of respondents with less than a Matric qualification shopped online compared to 54 percent of those with a tertiary education qualification.
The other factor, unsurprising is money. Of those earning less than R2 500 per month only 22 percent shop online while 62 percent of South Africans earning more than R50 000 shop online.
“The results are in effect a blueprint for online retailers, showing on the one hand where they will reach their most lucrative customers, and on the other the segments they must target to grow online retail further in South Africa,” Goldstuck concludes.