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Surge in online classifeds

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The ongoing depreciation of the rand has been accompanied by higher prices for hardware, a trend that hasn’t gone unnoticed by those looking to acquire the latest technology. As a result, South Africans trying to find abalance between so-called ‘luxury purchases’ and fulfilling basic household needs, are increasingly turning towards online platforms to buy and sell electronic items such as laptops and tablets.

This is according to Stephen Ballot, Country Manager for online classifieds platform OLX, who, after studying the site’s data, concludes that consumers’ path to purchase – particularly the decision to buy – is undoubtedly influenced by the second-hand options available to them online. With upgrades and new releases pushed onto the market at a fairly rapid pace, online classifieds have become consumers’ go-to platform for tech-related purchases, particularly around new product launches such as the new MacBook recently made available in South Africa.

Consumers who like to own the latest and best in technology ware often look towards online classifieds to sell their old models in order to upgrade to the latest versions – an act which hugely benefits those who are simply looking to acquire solid electronic items which are still considered high-end performers.

The recent launch of the new Apple MacBook with retina display is a case-in-point. According to Ballot, OLX has experienced extensive growth intheir laptop and computers category from January to May this year, a trend that complements the increase in monthly searches for computers and laptops over the same period.

Ballot contributes this surge in listings and searches to the recent arrival of the new Apple MacBook in local stores. He says that as confirmation of the imminent arrival of the new MacBook was announced, listings of older laptop and notebook models started spiking on OLX. “Compared to the same period last year, there has been a 40% increase of laptop, notebook and computer listings, the big variable seemingly being the launch of the new Apple MacBook.’’

He adds: “We have seen a growth in demand of over 190% this year for MacBooks and we anticipate this to continue growing as new products are launched. Consumers need a channel to sell their older models to upgrade, and online classifieds have become the preferred option for many due to the reach, mobile growth and the fact that such online classifieds are completely free.’’ Ballot indicates that Dell and Lenovo listings have also increased to 73% and 37% over the same period respectively.

Data from OLX further highlights interesting statistics in terms of adoption rates of various regions. According to OLX, Gauteng residents are more prone to list their laptops and computers online with 57% of all listings in this category attributed to this region, compared to the Western Cape’s 19.8%. KwaZulu-Natal is even further behind at 11.1%.

OLX trading also reflect the international downward trend in the sales of iPads, as consumers look towards acquiring more affordable android basedtablets which have increased by over 26% in recent months.