Online shopping hit the R14 billion mark in South Africa with 1.4 percent of overall sales in the country despite persistent apprehensions about its safety.
A study conducted by mobile and tech research group World Wide Worx and Visa and Platinum Seed found that online shopping would to surpass the landmark as e-commerce begins to go mainstream.
The study, called Online Retail in South Africa 2019, surveyed a total of 75 big companies.
It found that safety remained a significant concern as one in five consumers said they had been victims of payment card fraud.
The study discovered that there were 21 million internet users in South Africa, that means every second adult South African was connected.
It showed that e-commerce was not yet a major element of South African retail and hopes there will be growth in online shopping over time.
The research said that the growth had beaten market forecasts. It represented a 25 percent growth compared to 2017.
Forecasts have been on the rise due to massive investments in online retail, aggressive marketing, and the rapid uptake of new shopping channels like mobile shopping and Instagram,” the study found
In addition, most established online retailers have enhanced their digital presence and this has added to the growth in online shopping.
The study found that consumers spent R1-trillion through traditional channels in 2018, with the research expecting online sales to reach the 2 percent mark by 2022.
“Online retailers in South Africa still make up a small proportion of overall retail, but for the first time we see the promise of a broader range of businesses in terms of category, size, turnover and employee numbers. This is a sign that our local market is beginning to mature,” according to the report.
However, South Africa is still lagging behind in online shopping compared to China where online shopping accounts for 19.6 percent of total sales.
Home Choice retail chief executive Leanne Buckham said the company had embarked on a huge promotional drive in promoting internet shopping. Safety remains a general worry for consumers.
“There is still a barrier to online shopping. People are nervous that there is someone out there who will scam them of their card,” said Buckham, adding that oversees the barrier was gone.