Shoppers go online to save, poll shows

Adiel Ismail
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Cape Town - The tendency of consumers to buy impulsively is greatly reduced when shopping online, according to MasterCard’s 2013 Online Shopping Survey.

Although shopping online means that consumers are spared petrol and parking costs, the respondents indicated that they want further improvements in savings.

Philip Panaino‚ division president for MasterCard SA, said customers were also interested in value-add purchases.

He said 65% of respondents indicated that promotional offers, discounts or free gifts are important when it comes to choosing an online retailer.

"People who finally break the ice and go online shopping are very satisfied," said Arthur Goldstuck‚ managing director of World Wide Worx.

The survey found that 91% of South Africans who shop online are happy with their overall experience‚ while 76% return to an online shopping site that they have used.

"Low prices are not a big factor but a competitive price is," said Goldstuck.

From the shoppers polled, 79% stated that they want free or minimal delivery or shipping charges.

Almost half of the respondents also suggested that online purchases should not involve additional service charges.

The survey also provided insight into what drives South Africans to make online purchases.

The most crucial consideration, indicated by 90% of respondents, was secure payment facilities and convenient payment methods.

Another key factor, indicated by 89% of the respondents, was the price of the item. Low or no extra charges for delivery also played a role in the decision for 86% of the respondents.

SA retailers show muscle

Goldstruck added that domestic retailers are fending off global competition.

Only 29% of online consumers' purchase occasions came from foreign websites‚ a 5% decline compared to the previous survey.

Websites selling books, CDs and DVDs were the most popular, with 42% of respondents having visited these sites in the last three months. Home appliances and electronics took second place (35%).

While South Africans may be shopping online, only 12% use their mobile devices to make purchases.

Consumers used their mobile phones to buy low value items like mobile phone apps (45%), music downloads (26%) and tickets for cinemas and theatre performances (13%).

Kalahari.com topped the list as the leading online retailer in the country, with 47% of the respondents reported having made a purchase from the online store. Groupon, Amazon, Bid-or-Buy and Takealot also featured on the list.

PayU, the payment gateway which processes the online payments for Kalahari.com and Groupon, said on Monday in a statement that it prioritises safe and convenient online payments.

“As a payment gateway it is in our best interest to make sure the positive sentiment towards online shopping continues to grow,” said PayU CEO, Mark Chirnside.

The annual survey polled 500 South African respondents aged between 18 and 64, who have bank accounts and access the Internet at least once a week.

* Kalahari.com is a division of Media24, Fin24's parent company.

 - Adiel Ismail, Fin24

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