MasterCard’s annual Online Behaviour Study, presented by World Wide Worx, has revealed that the availability of secure payment facilities is most critical to South Africans when they shop online.
The study revealed that 90% of respondents cite the availability of secure payment methods as “critical” when purchasing goods online.
The 42% of respondents who did not shop online in the past three months did not do so because of concerns about the safety of online transactions.
Respondents, who were aged between 18 and 64, answered questions about their online habits, preferences and behaviour.
MasterCard says the “critical” finding about security sends a clear message to website owners in South Africa.
World Wide Worx MD Arthur Goldstuck says there were at least 13,6m people online in South Africa at the end of 2013. “The addressable online market is sitting at 4,6m users, with 51,6% of this number shopping online in 2013,” says Goldstuck.
This puts the total number of South Africans who shopped online in 2013 at 2,3m. World Wide Worx predicts that the addressable online market will climb to 5,3m in 2014 and to 6,8m by the end of 2015.
South African online shoppers look for security of payment, convenience in paying and transaction speeds first and foremost. “The main reasons for not buying online is that users prefer to buy in-store, security of online transactions, followed by not having a credit card,” says Goldstuck.
More than half the respondents (53%) said their shopping experience could be improved if there was a “viable, explicit assurance” that their transactions would be secure, while 52% wanted protection against “unscrupulous websites”. Additionally, 48% suggested guarantees by banks or financial companies that websites are safe.
The study found that the most commonly visited websites locally for online shopping were Kalahari, which was visited by 35% of respondents, Groupon and Bid or Buy (both at 13%) and Takealot (11%). “Takelot had the greatest increase in consumer preference.”
As for what consumers are buying, travel dominates spend. Premium video and home appliances and electronics also feature highly. “Out of the top six categories, only home appliances and electronics are physical products.”
Seven out of 10 people return to the same shopping sites, while 48% find it difficult to return goods, which is a key factor in decision to purchase or not. The portion of “extremely satisfied” online shoppers has dipped from 29% in 2012 to 21% in 2013.
The survey also found the main factor that will bring users back to online stores is free to minimal delivery charges. Three-quarters of respondents who shop online wanted free to negligible delivery charges.
More than 700 000 South Africans shop on a mobile device, making up 17% of the addressable market. “Mobile purchases are dominated by apps and music downloads, followed by cinema tickets,” says Goldstuck. — (c) 2014 NewsCentral Media