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SA online consumer behaviour trends

The business and retail landscape in South Africa is shaped by different factors and circumstances.

It’s about providing unique products and services which ultimately impact business profitability which is the bottom line.

For consumers, it’s about finding the right product or service at the right time and price. The behaviour of consumers and the motivation behind their purchasing decisions ultimately boils down to factors such as age, lifestyle, economic circumstances, status, occupation,
family dynamics, etc.

The current Covid-19 pandemic has also altered consumer behaviour dynamics with health and safety, travel restrictions and lockdowns, home working and schooling all playing a major role.

Which SA online consumer behaviour trends should you be studying?


An increasing number of consumers are beginning to seek seamless shopping experiences which allows them to switch shopping channels easily.

Consumers are not just looking for multichannel shopping options but rather for integrated omnichannel shopping experiences. This is likely to lead to reduced incidents of products being available online but not in-store.

Nike is a good example of a business that has succeeded by enhancing omnichannel shopping. The brand has ensured that its products which are advertised and sold online are also found in physical retail stores.

Payment and delivery options

Not only are more consumers doing their shopping online but they are also looking for flexibility when it comes to payment and delivery options. Options in this regard include buying online and paying in-store as well as click and collect in-store.

PayFlex in South Africa is leading the way in this regard. When consumers use PayFlex and pay 25% on their total purchase, they are allowed to split the total cost of their purchase into four instalments with no interest or fees.

In short, PayFlex takes the credit and fraud risk by paying the retailer in full and allowing the consumer to pay the purchase off in instalments.

Retailers can integrate this payment gateway for eCommerce into their retail sites.

Shopify AR

Shopify AR (Shopify augmented reality) allows consumers to see interactive versions of various products. Consumers are now looking for retailers who have augmented reality which brings products to life on their mobile phones and other gadgets.

Shopify AR allows consumers to see products in 3D, giving them an idea of what the product looks like in real life.

Social commerce

Social media is a big driver of retail sales and an increasing number of consumers are now using social media to make purchases and thus the term social commerce.

The introduction of the “Buy” button on Facebook and Instagram checkout points to social commerce being a very unstoppable consumer trend.

Examples of retail businesses which are maximising the Intagram innovation in South Africa includes the Forever New South Africa and Store & More South Africa.


The Covid-19 pandemic has negatively impacted the amount of their disposable income that consumers used to spend on luxury and expensive products.

Consumers are also now paying particular attention to sustainability. This has brought to the fore an increased demand for
reverse commerce is also known as second-hand commerce where second-hand luxury products in excellent condition are resold at affordable or discounted prices.

Takealot is a good example of a business that sells returned products from buyers.

The business and retail spaces are constantly changing but the consumer trends listed above such as purchasing channels and payment options, social media commerce, reverse commerce are certainly here to stay.

Guzzle Media