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Digital Retail – The World Wide Worx Report on B2C eCommerce in South Africa

The annual IT News Africa’s Digital Retail Conference takes place in Sandton on the 26 Jan (do join us – ). The backdrop of this conference is the latest research from the World Wide Worx that shows that eCommerce took a great leap forward over the last 2 years. The study estimates that the total growth for online retail (eCommerce) in SA in 2022 came to 35%, bringing the total of online retail to R55 bn. This comes after a 40% growth in 2021 took the total to R42.3 bn when the COVID lock down stimulated a boom in demand for home deliveries. Online sales have also been boosted by the Black Friday sales, with all banks reporting massive increases in card and online spending on what has become one of the biggest shopping days of the year. eCommerce, however, still remains a little less than 5% of total retail turnover. Stats SA’s Statistical Release for Retail Trade Sales, January 2022, reported that total retail for 2021 had reached R1.16 tn, up from R1.06 tn in 2020 – making for healthy 9.7% growth, but after a 4.4% fall in 2020

“Online Retail in South Africa 2022”, the research conducted by World Wide Worx with Mastercard, does not include B2C services sold online, nor B2B. For the year, top performers included Checkers Sixty60, which grew turnover by 150% from July 2021 to July 2022, Mr Price, which reported online retail sales up 48.2% for the year to April 2022, and Pick ‘n Pay, which reported in its annual results for the year to the end of February 2022 that online sales had seen annual compound growth of 72.5% over the previous 2 years. The World Wide Worx findings are compiled from accumulated figures and projections from listed companies, interviews with unlisted online retailers, and data on card transactions.

The results of the survey should not be a surprise. Trade Intelligence did some research  back in mid-2022 on how rising prices were affecting the online shopping habits of South African consumers. They found  that 98% of online shoppers – out of nearly 900 surveyed – said they were changing their grocery shopping habits as prices rise, and that they are shopping around for specials, shopping at cheaper stores, and cutting back on non-essentials. Significantly more people – 34% – were shopping more online, while 11% were shopping less online. That research concluded that there has been a big shift from online grocery shopping as a convenient way to do your shopping to online grocery shopping as a money saver.

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Alastair Tempest

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