South Africans surveyed form part of a study of over 30,000 global online consumers from 18 countries.
The research, commissioned by Wunderman Thompson South Africa as part of Wunderman Thompson Commerce’s Future Shopper Report 2022, reinforces how online shopping sites, shopping apps, marketplaces and social media are driving e-commerce.
The survey explores what motivates local South African online shoppers, where they get their ideas from, how they research before they shop, and what factors ultimately drive their appetite for purchasing online. 78% of SA respondents indicate they will be increasing their use of digital shopping channels in the future, albeit 74% of this group say they prefer to shop with a brand that has both a physical and an online store.
Over and above examining common denominators across sectors, the study unpacks detail about different products, from groceries, home furnishings, pharmaceuticals, toys/games and electronics to clothing, accessories and financial products.
For brands and retailers selling their products and services online or through apps, the results offer a departure point for winning over customers and driving online revenues. The insights will help businesses understand the demand, highlight how the pandemic has a fast-tracked appetite for online purchase and usage, and point to critical SA consumer expectations about service, pricing, payment methods, delivery, tracking and returns.
Parusha Partab, Group strategy director at Wunderman Thompson South Africa, says: “Where they buy from, what they’re buying online and how much they are spending is one thing, but understanding how South African consumers react to a range of factors is going to be crucial for retailers going forward. It has implications for business models, marketing strategies, technology investments, the supply chain – a whole range of business dimensions that need to adapt to our new reality.”
The research also asks respondents about the information presented to them on e-commerce platforms. 89% from South Africa indicate a preference for imagery and videos, while more than 90% claim product reviews and discounts are important.
Wunderman Thompson South Africa Group consulting director Kayembe Ilunga adds: “There’s a wealth of valuable insight. Our study also delves into how frequently South Africans buy certain products from different platforms and brands, their propensity to abandon a purchase while it’s in progress, and their likelihood to return products purchased online. Combining these indicators with solid historical data gathered through digital platforms will shape business projections going forward and points to the growing need to accept how the worlds of marketing, technology, data and sales have converged. We believe brands need to revisit their operating models and structures. There’s no longer one department solely responsible for delivering online experiences”.
There are distinct differences between the results from South Africa and the rest of the world, so one of the key benefits of the local research is that it helps identify what the local emerging trends are and to what extent brands should be ‘localising’ their response to the growing popularity of online shopping. Social networks have, globally, been one of the key winners, with Facebook and Instagram featuring as leading platforms of choice for South African respondents.
Another key trend that has emerged is the propensity to research online, but still conduct the actual purchase in-store – 80% claim they do this, and there are marked preferences for shopping directly from a brand versus what is called an aggregator platform, depending on the nature of the product. “This insight will help inform business decisions about online product offerings and portfolio expansion going forward,” says Partab, adding that the intention is for Wunderman Thompson South Africa to host a Future Shopper 2022 Online Event in due course to unpack the South African shopper results in more detail.
To download the full report, visit Wunderman Thompson Commerce’s Future Shopper Report 2022. Details about the online event will be released in due course.