According to a survey by Acuity Media Africa, South African shoppers spent R20 million online over the 2000 holiday period.
The survey was conducted in the first half of January 2001 and 110 South African e-tailers were polled regarding their revenue over the period 15 November to 24 December. Auction sites were excluded from the survey.
Forecasts had estimated that online holiday sales would sit at around R14 million for the retail sector, so the R20 million in sales surpassed expectations by 50%. The overall amount spent online in retail was R80 million double initial expectations- with holiday sales representing 24.5% of the total.
But the total consumer-spend online for 2000 reached R5 billion (this figure excludes online property and travel purchases, as well as online investment). Online retail only makes up 16% of that figure. Traditional retail garnered R200 billion, online retail bringing in a mere 0.04% of the total.
By comparison, PC Data Online put online spending in the USA over the holiday season at US$10.7 billion, doubling from 1999, but still just 5% of total retail sales for the season, US$195 billion.
Online retail still has a way to go, it would seem. McCarthy Call-a-car had double the turnover of general online retail stores; Massmart, the online representatives of Dion, Makro, Game and other wholesalers, made R48 million from the consumer and R238 million from businesses.
According to Arthur Goldstock, MD of Acuity Media Africa the e-tailers that did well were those that were customer focused and had an integrated strategy.
The big names, who failed to make the expected impact, failed to address the above issues. Edgars and Woolworths, for example, failed to include their web-presence with their in-store marketing. Musica and bluebean.com, on the other hand did integrate their marketing strategy, but lost customers because of sites that were difficult to navigate.
But according to Goldstuck brands like the above helped educate the consumer about the possibility of online shopping, benefiting the sector as a whole.
The number 1 online mall defined as a collection of sites under 1 URL- was Digital Mall. The top 10 individual sites, in alphabetical order, were:
African Cellular (www.cellular.co.za)
Digital Planet (www.digitalplanet.co.za)
Incredible Connection (www.ic.co.za)