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What did South Africans buy online in 2020?

In an effort to understand South Africa's online consumer behaviour in the midst of an e-commerce boom, local online retailer last year launched an annual index, dubbed the OneDayOnly ODOmeter.
Photo by cottonbro from
Photo by cottonbro from Pexels

The online daily deals site shares insights on how their customers have behaved online over the last year while being stuck at home. The company has taken a deeper look at what products and categories have seen growth and what trends have influenced this.

“Naturally, our 2020 sales saw a direct association with products needed during a pandemic from personal protection equipment (PPE) like masks, sanitisers and thermometers to DIY and organisational items.” says Laurian Venter, director at OneDayOnly.

It is clear that customers chose to use their time on home improvement, getting fit and healthy, and keeping themselves entertained. The most popular selling categories were those offered at over 40% deal rate, and included:
  • Exercise equipment – saw a 200% growth which only had a 10% increase in 2019
  • Puzzles, games and books – were also very popular
  • Kitchen and homeware products – saw between 40% and 300% growth across all items
  • DIY products – a staggering 300% growth compared to the 30% growth in 2019

What did South Africans buy online in 2020?
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“As a business that relies on data, not only from a shopper perspective, but also from a buying perspective, it was interesting to see how the numbers increased in certain categories when comparing them year-on-year,” observes Venter.

“It’s important for an e-tailer to be flexible when it comes to trending products. Because we wipe the site clean every night ahead of the 250-300 deals we load at midnight for the next day, our buyers are agile enough to be able to make sure we are able to move products that our customers are looking for, both from a local and international perspective,” says Venter.
What did South Africans buy online in 2020?
click to enlarge

“Looking at purchasing trends of other countries over the same period, it appears that people from all over the world opted to spend their time constructively on DIY and home-based entertainment activities,” concludes Venter.

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