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South Africans shy away from shopping online

By , IT in government editor
South Africa , 27 Mar 2014

South Africans shy away from shopping online

Majority of South African online shoppers are not convinced about the security of online shopping.

This was revealed in a report titled “MasterCard Online Shopping Behaviour Study” conducted by MasterCard and presented in Johannesburg yesterday.

According to the study, 90% of South African online shoppers say that better security would convince them to spend more online.

Meanwhile, 42% stated they don’t want to shop online because they are afraid of the lack of security when it comes to online transactions.

The Online Shopping Behaviour Study was conducted in 11 countries across Africa and the Middle East over a three month period, between November 2013 and January 2014.

For the South African part of the study, South Africans aged between 18 and 64 that access the internet at least once a week were surveyed.

World Wide Worx managing director Arthur Goldstuck told ITWeb Africa there are two aspects to online security: one being the responsibility of the online retailers and the other being the responsibility of the whole industry.

“Online retailers need to make more of an effort to convince people that it is safe to shop on their site, they must show people why it is safe to shop on the site,” he said.

Goldstuck adds, “Online retailers, the banks and even telecoms operators need to educate the market about the benefits of online and also about the security that is available when shopping online.”

According to Goldstuck the addressable market for online shoppers in the country at the end of 2013 was 4.6 million people, and those were people that had been online for five years or more.

Of the 4.6 million people only 51%, that is, 2.3 million people actually shopped online last year, he explained.

“That half that is not shopping online is concerned about security but also they find physical shopping more effective,” he explained.

Other African countries

Surprisingly, African nations like Nigeria and Kenya have not taken to online shopping, with only 7% and 4% respectively stating they use the internet for online shopping, as revealed in the study.

However, of those respondents surveyed, the average South African has three years online shopping experience compared to the two year average across other African countries.

Goldstuck agrees that those figures shouldn't be a surprise because the growth of internet users in Africa is a recent phenomenon.

The experience model shows there needs to be an online user base with a reasonable length of time before you can even consider shopping online, he said.

So those countries would for sure be far behind the curve – online retail has just not begun yet in the rest of Africa, he noted.

“E-commerce is still in its infancy in other African countries,” Goldstuck concludes.

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