Businesses all around the world are adopting new technology to better serve their customers, and South Africa is no different. As the availability of smartphones and the internet has increased, the number of people getting online has too. In modern countries, there’s a growing demand for businesses that understand the needs of the modern consumer. This means providing easy-to-use online services and applications.
As more businesses get online, competitors need to follow in order to not get left behind. This creates a trend of increasing digitalisation, and nowhere is this more apparent than in the retail sector.
South Africa’s eCommerce sector grew by 66% in 2020. This was partly fuelled by the pandemic, with retail stores temporarily closing down under restrictions. However, early signs suggest that the trend has continued even with restrictions being lifted. More South Africans got used to shopping online, and in addition, many brands realized that they couldn’t ignore the eCommerce sector any longer.
Online Shopping in South Africa
According to recent research, as many as 70% of South Africans spend time online shopping once a month. Clothing, electronics, and household appliances are some of the most commonly purchased items online, with health products and footwear also popular. Those that responded to surveys about the reasons why they shopped online were most likely to answer that it was more convenient. Other reasons for choosing to visit eCommerce sites included shorter wait times and more product variety.
For newly emerging brands in South Africa, the rise in popularity of eCommerce represents a unique opportunity to gain a share of a lucrative market. Many of the more traditional brands are slower to start listing their products online, which means that smaller businesses can gain the advantage. However, digital marketing techniques are important for any business that wants to be found easily by its target market. Making use of a link building company in South Africa is an excellent way to build an online presence and launch a successful eCommerce business.
The Role of Mobile Phones
Better internet access in South Africa is partly thanks to the widespread use of smartphones. As these devices have become cheaper and more accessible, they’ve allowed millions of new internet users to get online and start enjoying online services. Most eCommerce and digital services in South Africa cater to mobile users, allowing them to easily shop and browse through their smartphones.
As such, mobile phones are now starting to replace things like wallets, as a full range of financial services can be used through a mobile device. A 2020 study found that 45% of South Africans access the internet through their smartphones, using the web for more than four hours each day. Aside from this, smartphone use is so widespread that the majority of people in the country now access the internet through their phones.
Digitalization and Adaption
A McKinsey and Company report published just before the 2019 pandemic claimed that advances in technology like machine learning, artificial intelligence, and robotics would have a far-reaching impact on South Africa’s workplaces. The report also claimed that by 2030, digitisation and automation might add 1.2 million jobs to the country’s workforce. While Covid-19 may appear to have thrown these predictions off, the pandemic has undoubtedly created numerous opportunities in the digitalisation space.
Companies have been forced to adapt and change their business models in order to survive, embracing digitisation which they might have put off before. The result has been more widespread online services than ever, and a growing percentage of the popular has enjoyed better access to goods and services than ever before.