Unsurprisingly, 68 percent of South Africans are shopping online more because of COVID-19

Mastercard recently commissioned a study to look at consumer spending during the COVID-19 pandemic. While some elements of the study seem relatively straightforward to understand, such as the headline noting that 68 percent of South African consumers are spending more time online shopping as a result of COVID-19, there are others that are quite interesting.

One example is the fact that the bulk of consumer purchasing of essential items has been dedicated to data, 81 percent to be precise. It is also an indication that in this digital and remote working era, data is now classed as an essential item alongside clothing or food.

Another surprising element is how generous South Africans have been in this trying year. To that end, the report notes that nearly a quarter, 23 percent, of consumers saying they have donated more to charity now than in pre-lockdown.

“Consumers are supporting their favourite local small businesses, with 63% of respondents saying that they are making a conscious effort to shop online at these stores,” adds a press release regarding the report sent to Hypertext.

The power of social

Social media too has also proved crucial in this period. Here, 64 percent and 41 percent of respondents said they had discovered new sellers through Facebook and Instagram respectively.

One of the other highlights focused on pricing, with South Africans clearly willing to put in the time to find a bargain or best deal possible.

“Price is a key factor for South African shoppers, with 78% saying this is the most important consideration that guides their online purchasing decision,” notes the report.

“In fact, 75% of typical in-store bargain hunters spend hours searching different sites to find the best deals and nearly half (49%) of self-confessed window shoppers say they regularly create wish lists but don’t always buy,” it continues.

It also looks like South Africans are using the pandemic and lockdown to upskill themselves, particularly as it pertains to understanding digital services and solutions that are DIY-orientated.

68 percent of South Africans, according to the Mastercard study.

New tricks

“Two thirds (76%) of respondents learnt to bank online, while more than a half learnt to cook through online tutorials (55%), manage their health and get their medicines online (52%) or trained themselves in Do-It-Yourself (51%). Around 39% of respondents enrolled in an online university or educational course, 29% learnt to dance and 28% learnt to do make-up,” it unpacks.

With the experience during the pandemic and lockdown likely having a lasting impact on the way we interact in the coming months and years, it seems like many of the trends highlighted above and illustrated in the infographic below, will only continue.

“We have all been adjusting to a new way of living and are understandably shopping more online, though it’s not just for essentials like data, clothing and groceries but for virtual experiences ranging from films to cooking classes. What’s more, this trend appears to be here to stay as 71% of respondents say they will continue to shop online post-pandemic,” adds Suzanne Morel, country manager at Mastercard South Africa.

“Now more than ever people need access to the digital economy and all of us at Mastercard are constantly working to make the online shopping experience more inclusive, simple, seamless and secure for everyone, whether you’re shopping for essentials or experiences,” she concludes.


[Image – CC 0 Pixabay]


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