Business

More online shopping for South Africans in 2011

Zeenat Moorad

Online retailers might see an increase in visitors this year as a survey found 45% of online shoppers spent more online in 2011 than previous years.

Online retailers might have more visitors to their websites this festive season according to a new survey which found 45% of online shoppers spent more online in 2011 than in previous years.

According to South African market research specialists, Columinate, 59% of online shoppers preferred to shop at local websites, predominantly because there was a perceived shorter waiting time between purchase and delivery and because they could make purchases in local currency.

“Unsurprisingly, convenience is the top reason why shoppers prefer purchasing products online—half of the respondents also mentioned appreciating the ability to research products.

“The reach to international stores and products and ability to easily send gifts also appear significant drivers of preference for online shopping,” Henk Pretorius, senior online research specialist at Columinate said on Wednesday.

The survey also revealed that while online shoppers had been spending more online in 2011 than previous years, local online shoppers were still not big spenders with the total spend for all purchases—55% of the respondents cited purchases of between R500 and R2 999 in the last year, Columinate said.

With the holiday shopping season underway the survey also probed how much of the shopping for the holidays is being planned online, and the most popular online purchase categories during this time seemed to be travel at 37%, electronics and technology at 21%, and health and beauty at 16%.

Some respondents also pointed out that online shopping in South Africa still needed to improve on reliability.

“Online shoppers’ feedback also reveals some bad experiences in the past, with 49% stating that they have had to wait longer than promised to receive a purchased product.

“Around a fifth or 21% have ordered and paid for a product that never arrived and 20% received a different product from the one that they had ordered,” said Pretorius.—I-Net Bridge

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