Recent research suggests continued ecommerce growth

The fact that online shopping is booming is evident in the growth reported in 2020. Compounded by the impact of COVID-19, ecommerce sales in SA increased by 66% to R30-billion – more than double the value of 2018 sales, and 50% higher than forecasts which predicted a R20-billion industry by 2020.

According to the most recent industry research that was conducted in August by, 47% of those surveyed claim that more of their spend is now online, as opposed to traditional brick & mortar retail outlets.

These shoppers have also diversified how they spend their money online – with an increase seen in 2021 from 2020 figures across all categories surveyed, including Travel and Experiences (up 18%), Groceries and Household (over double YOY, from 21% to 43%) and Clothing and Shoes (up 12%).

Forecasts indicate that 2021 will still see rapid ecommerce growth – purportedly reaching levels of R40-billion.

However, for many of those surveyed, money has been tight so far this year. Despite forecasts indicating a continuation of record growth over the next year, consumers surveyed advise that they remain cash strapped.

With 46% reporting an overall decrease in household income, almost half the survey respondents also indicated that they had spent less money across all channels (online and in-store).

As a result, 73% of respondents were therefore looking for good affordable deals to get the best value for their money. 70% indicated that they only shop for necessities, while 14% were on the lookout for bulk deals to further reduce costs.

The data gathered by provides insights that allows them to align their product offering to support the needs of their customers in challenging financial times, and the data has also highlighted a shift in the way consumers spend their money.

In the short space of time that has passed between the last findings and these, accelerated ecommerce adoption is evident in the uptake of a wide range of product categories online (some doubling in volume shopped), and in the significant increase in online shoppers in the survey sample (from 79% in 2020 to 86% in 2021).

As consumer spending becomes smarter and competition between online retailers ever fiercer, brands must apply focus to key categories; quality of offering being pivotal to this. Online retailers must also consider how their practices enrich the local economy and aid in combating a waning average household income to bolster continued industry-wide growth.


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