India English
Kenya English
United Kingdom English
South Africa English
Nigeria English
United States English
United States Español
Indonesia English
Bangladesh English
Egypt العربية
Tanzania English
Ethiopia English
Uganda English
Congo - Kinshasa English
Ghana English
Côte d’Ivoire English
Zambia English
Cameroon English
Rwanda English
Germany Deutsch
France Français
Spain Català
Spain Español
Italy Italiano
Russia Русский
Japan English
Brazil Português
Brazil Português
Mexico Español
Philippines English
Pakistan English
Turkey Türkçe
Vietnam English
Thailand English
South Korea English
Australia English
China 中文
Somalia English
Netherlands Nederlands

23 Online Shopping Statistics in South Africa

Last updated on February 26th, 2024 at 08:23 am

Have you ever noticed that most of the Ads you come across are things you have recently searched for on the internet? 

Well, while you are using the internet, companies are constantly collecting data about you. 

You might at some point find yourself trying to decide whether to shop with an online retailer or visit a physical store.

The factors you might consider are things like how much time you have and where you will get the best value.

 Although most of the time the decision comes down to which option is more convenient. 

Online shopping in South Africa is widespread and big. So let’s jump straight into the true scale of how many people are online and how much money they spent on these sites.

#1. How Big Is Online Shopping? 

In 2021 annual retail e-commerce sales passed $4.9 trillion worldwide and emarket predicts it will grow to $5.5 trillion by the end of 2022. That is more than the GDP of Germany which was approximately $4.2 trillion in 2021 and Japan which was approximately $5.1 trillion in 2021.

#2. How Many People Are Shopping Online in South Africa?

In the year 2020, South Africa saw a 66% growth in e-commerce. According to a study done by Deloitte, more than 70% of South Africans are shopping online.

#3. How Big Is Online Shopping in South Africa?

The increase in online shopping in South Africa is very noticeable, which has led to retailers trying to offer customers greater freedom and more options to transact. With an increase of 19%, South Africa’s eCommerce market contributed to the worldwide growth of 15% in 2021.

#4. How Much Will Online Shopping Grow?

According to the Statista Digital Market Outlook, the eCommerce market in South Africa is expected to increase over the next four years. It has been predicted that the compound annual growth rate for the next four years (between 2021 and 2025) will be 8%.

With a yearly growth rate of 8%, South Africa is expected to outperform the global average of 6% between 2021 and 2025. Just like in South Africa, eCommerce sales are expected to continue growing over the next years globally.

From a Mastercard survey of 1 000 South Africans, 71% of the respondents said they will continue shopping online even after the pandemic. It was then concluded that online shopping will continue to grow.

Both small businesses and established retail giants in South Africa are following the demand and they are establishing e-commerce as an essential sales channel in South Africa.

The rise in mobile and internet use is laying the foundation for more day-to-day activities including shopping becoming digital.

#5. How Many South Africans Are Shopping Online?

Compared to the growth of 19% between 2020 and 2021, the decrease in yearly growth suggests a moderately flooded market. However, an indicator of growth potential is the online penetration of 35% in South Africa which means at least 35% of the people in South Africa have bought at least one product online in 2021.

#6. How Often Are South Africans Online?

If you want to purchase something online, you have to use the internet. According to a GeoPoll study in February 2020, 45% of South Africans browse the internet on their mobile phones for more than four hours every day.

Although this is not a guarantee they will use online stores, it means that a certain number of South Africans have the potential to become online shoppers at some point.

#7. How Often Do South Africans Shop Online?

Online retail stores often make it easier to buy things individually, as you don’t have to go out of your way to get to the shops and many online retailers offer free shipping. According to a Deloitte study, more than 70% of South Africans shop online at least once a month.

#8. Do People Prefer to Shop in-Store? 

In March 2020, McKinsey Consumer Pulse Survey discovered that more than 70% of South Africans prefer shopping online to a physical store to cut on transport and travel-related costs.

According to a study by Deloitte, 26% of South Africans said they do online shopping because it is more convenient.

#9. How Does E-Commerce Compare to Traditional Sales?

Traditional sales started going down after lockdown was introduced due to the pandemic. This made e-commerce take the lead. The restrictions brought about by the pandemic led to the reduction of in-store shopping by 30%.

Online stores experienced a boom in sales as South Africans avoided shopping malls and stores in favor of home deliveries. According to Stats SA, the market share of online retail in South Africa grew to 2.8% in 2020 which is double the percentage in 2018.

#10. How Much Does Online Shopping Increase in the Holiday Season?

According to the 2021 holiday shopping survey, it was estimated that South Africans will spend 11% of their total holiday purchase over the internet. This is a growth of 4% from 6% a year ago. Although South African figures are generally below global averages, it’s interesting to note that, in almost every instance, the South African statistics are ahead of last year’s global averages.

#11. How Big Is Black Friday Online Shopping in South Africa?

FNB reported that Black Friday spending in South Africa has increased by 19% year-on-year with transactions worth over R2bn processed on its Speed points. In addition, FNB card holders made purchases over R2.5bn on Black Friday, an increase of 15% compared to 2020 records.

#12. How Covid-19 Affected Shopping

After WHO classified Covid-19 as a pandemic, then following subsequent lockdowns and stay-at-home orders that came out, the first quarter of 2020 was actually normal for online shopping.

However, between the second quarter of 2020 and the first quarter of 2021, e-commerce experienced a growth of between 32% and 43.8% over double what would be expected.

This calmed down to a 9.1% growth between the second quarter of 2020 and 2021, but it still represents a lasting change, boosting eCommerce over physical stores.

Before the pandemic, e-commerce accounted for 8% of total card payments spent in the retail space, with 35% of it being spent on travel and accommodation. At the end of the year 2021, eCommerce accounted for 14% of total card payment sales, with travel and accommodation only taking up 11%.

#13. How Common Is Cart Abandonment? 

Cart abandonment is a big problem when it comes to e-commerce. It is estimated the average online store loses over 75% of sales due to cart abandonment. More detailed studies have shown that some industries are losing as much as 83.6% of potential sales due to cart abandonment

Although many studies have been done on cart abandonment, many times the results differ. The outcome depends on when the studies were done, and the populations used for the study. According to Baymard, there was an average of almost 70% cart abandonment from the 46 different articles he looked at towards the end of 2021.

#14. Why Do People Abandon Online Carts?

People may abandon online carts for various reasons. These reasons include, no express shipping value, when account creation is a must, unexpected shipping cost, concerns about payment security, when they just conducting research for future purchases, long and confusing checkouts, and when they don’t have coupon codes. The list is big.

#15. How Important Are Third-Party Marketplaces?

When looking for something online, it’s always easier to go through an e-commerce market. Third-party marketplaces are sites that other online retailers can use to sell their products and online shoppers can use to search for and compare different options. 

According to reports by Digital Commerce on sales in 2021, the top 100 platforms accounted for 62.7% of the money spent online in 2020. This was a bit higher than the 60.1% spent in 2019.

#16. Which is the Most Popular Online Marketplace?

Looking at the top 100 e-commerce marketplaces, three companies out of the hundred made up 62.6% of all marketplace income and 39.1% of the world’s e-commerce. These were Amazon, Taobao, and Tmall. The latter two are sites owned by e-commerce giant Alibaba.

#17. How Many People Are Using Online Marketplaces?

According to a study, 92% of consumers shop online using a marketplace. The study showed that most purchases were made on major e-commerce sites.

In 2021 which is a South African marketplace, was the second leading marketplace in Africa with Jumia taking the lead. had an average of 10.5 million visits a month.

#18. How Do Other Devices Compare to Desktop Orders? 

According to Salesforce, desktop orders were only 27% of traffic and 39% of the total orders in the fourth quarter of 2021. While mobile phone orders were 58% of orders and 71% of traffic to e-commerce sites.

Tablets on the other hand recorded an average order of $101.30 in 2020. Which is just above mobile phones although it fell behind in 2021. Between 2020 and 2021, the value of the average sales grew to 37% on desktop and 41% on mobile phones. However, a drop of 0.12% to $101.18 was seen on tablets.

#19. How Many People Use a Smartphone to Shop?

Research results from a Geopoll survey conducted in 2020 indicated that 45% of the South African population browsed the internet on their smartphones for more than four hours a day. In January 2022, an increase in active internet users was seen in South Africa which was 41.19 million.

Most people who use the internet do so using their phones. Over 70% of South Africans access the internet through their mobile phones only. This means most of their purchases are through their smartphones.

The integration of wallets, bank apps, and shopping apps has made browsing through virtual shopping isles easier than it has ever been.

#20. How Many Sales Are Made through Smartphones?

According to the study, there was an increase from 36% in 2020 to 40% in online retail sales made through mobile phones in the first quarter of 2021. Even though online purchases through smartphones are increasing, the majority of online purchases are still being made from other devices, like desktop computers, tablets, and laptops.

#21. Are Reviews Important?

According to a 2021 Bizrate survey on customer reviews, only 8.7% of online shoppers will buy something without reading through the reviews section. Most of the respondents said they will read at least four reviews before buying anything online.

Some respondents confirmed that they will only buy a product with more than 50 positive reviews.

#22. Are Sponsored Reviews Important?

According to a Bizrate survey, 32.7% of online shoppers don’t trust sponsored reviews. This means, depending on the influencer, and the product being reviewed, 67.3% of people had at least some trust in the products. However, as only 6.1% said they completely trust these reviews, they’re often better for increasing awareness for new customers.

#23. How Often Do People Buy From Social Media?

The eMarketer eCommerce survey from May 2021 asked people if they had bought something through social media and found that 48% of them had made a purchase via social media last year. The study also showed that 56% of people made their purchases through links to external sites.

Among all social networks used, Facebook was the most popular for social commerce. This was probably because 88% of the adults surveyed use it more than any other social media platform. However, the dedicated Facebook Marketplace might also have caused this.

Conclusion on Online Shopping Statistics in South Africa

E-commerce is a big industry, and it’s here to stay. Hopefully, these online shopping statistics have made it easier to grasp consumer acceptance of online shopping, especially in South Africa, and what is important to the customers.

Have you ever bought anything from an online store? Did you find any of the above statistics interesting? Are there any facts we might have missed? Give us your feedback on South African online shopping Statistics in the comments section below. Thank you for reading and we would appreciate you sharing our content to help us reach more people. 


× WhatsApp us