What South African online shoppers really want

Understanding and keeping pace with what drives people to shop and buy online is critical to succeeding in the digital world. In response to demand for greater insights regarding the online customer, KPMG undertook a study to reveal the online shopping preferences and behaviours of more than 856 consumer respondents in South Africa

Today’s consumer doesn’t only GO shopping, but IS shopping, all the time and everywhere. And in a truly global online marketplace, competition is no longer limited to local shops during regular business hours.

Behaviour basics

The key findings based on the South African market reveals that respondents mostly shop online for books and music.

Judging by the behaviour and sentiments based on decision making, the report cites that over two thirds of South African shoppers decide to purchase products within less than a week.

Online or offline?

When comparing the impact of online versus offline touch-points that create the first trigger moment, of note is that many South African respondents prefer online shopping because of lower prices and convenience.

Typically, those who prefer to continue shopping offline do so because it is imperative for them to try on, see or touch the item as opposed having to await the arrival of the product, only to realise that they are not satisfied with it.

Why and where they shop online

In terms of why and where consumers shop, the survey indicates that respondents are most likely to purchase products after having heard about them from friends or online.

It turns out that 64 percent of shoppers purchase from within South Africa – with the remaining bulk purchasing from USA or Canada.

Earning trust

In the interest of earning trust, the report finds that consumers believe that protecting their data and information is most important as this is the biggest factor in building consumer trust. For consumers, the most important attribute of companies that are trusted most are the ones that are easy to contact.

Keeping consumers loyal

When we look at consumer loyalty, the report suggests that consumers are motivated to be loyal to their shoppers by factors such as lower prices and discounts. In addition, respondents are willing to try a new brand if it is cheaper.

Constituents such as delivery and lower prices also tend to influence the buyers choice with regards to where it is they choose to spend their money. Furthermore, excellent customer support and instrumental feedback are essential factors that would make clients a lot more loyal to the brands of their choice.

The more traditional attributes like excellent consumer support, loyalty offers and membership programmes will remain important for all companies to consider as part of their mix.

Read more on Top Risks for Retail Companies in South Africa 2017

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Femi Oke

About Femi Oke

Relentless passion for creativity and digital acumen to help a professional services firm thrive in the digital space. Femi is an individual with a rich experience on regional African knowledge, its diverse business culture and he understands the continent’s economic drive. He thrives on selfless service and lasting mutually beneficial relationships with colleagues and especially clients encountered in the course of his duties. He is creative, practical and self-motivated with business judgement in corporate, brand and strategic communications, social, digital & traditional media and executive profiling. Roles in the firm include New Media, Digital Communication, Corporate Communication, executive profiling and Brand Management execution. Working on the multi-million dollar Africa high growth market project stands out for femi; besides this, managing all KPMG’s digital communication for the World Economic Forum on Africa is another project that gives him great delight. Femi holds a Masters Degree in Global Marketing from the University of Liverpool.



  1. What South African online shoppers really want | Nkulunkulu - 02/07/2017

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