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SA goes online for festive shopping

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Almost half of South African shoppers save up their rewards to spend on festive season gifts.
This is according to the online festive survey, carried out by eBucks Rewards, which found that 46% of consumers see the value in stockpiling loyalty rewards to boost their wallets over the festive season to spoil friends and family.
In addition, the online survey showed that we spend these rewards in a variety of places: 40% are spent online, 21% in-store, and 39% both online and in-store.
The survey shows that, unsurprisingly, e-commerce in South Africa continues on its upward trajectory, with 21% of consumers doing all our festive shopping online (up from 14% in 2014, 10% in 2013, and 8% in 2012). Interestingly, the number of consumers who only shop in-store has risen slightly (36% from 31%), while the number of consumers shopping both in-store and online has dropped dramatically (38% from 54%).
For the first time this year the survey looked at the differences in behaviour between various age groups of South Africa’s online community. While there is not much difference in behaviour between the various groups, there are two noteworthy exceptions:
* 11% of 60+ year olds hand-make their gifts, compared to 4% of 18 to 24 year olds.
* While online shopping using a computer stays fairly constant across age groups, using smartphones and tablets sees a significant drop as people get older: from 38% in the 18 to 24 year range, to 11% in the 60+ year group.
This year, the online community was quizzed on how they shop online to gain a better understanding of people’s preferred device for carrying out ecommerce. The results show that one in five consumers (21%) use a combination of computers and mobile devices to do their entire festive gift shopping online. Interestingly 4% shop online exclusively with a mobile device.
Placed alongside the feedback consumers gave about why they shop online in the first place, some useful signposts for retailers start emerging: 54% say they compare prices on different web sites; 19% browse using a computer but purchase in-store; and 12% browse on a mobile device but purchase in-store. This points to how important it is that retailers offer customers a streamlined and integrated shopping experience, whichever channel they choose.
“When it comes to spending this festive season, it is clear that the South African online community is as generous about giving gifts as ever,” says Joland√© Duvenage, CEO of eBucks Rewards. “The amount we spend on our partners specifically has increased, for instance 26% of us will spend R1 000 or more on our partners, compared to 19% last year.”
In addition to being generous, South Africa online shoppers are also quite savvy:  they like the convenience of online shopping (63%) as it saves time; they compare prices online before making a purchase (54%), and some also wait for the festive season sales to do gift shopping (14%).
The quick quiz is now a regular feature of the survey, and the results were insightful. Respondents were asked to pick their favourite between brands or lifestyle choices:
* Apple iPhone 6S (29%) versus Samsung S6 (71%)
* Apple iOS (37%) versus Microsoft Windows (63%)
* iTunes (46%) versus CDs (54%)
* Paper books (53%) versus e-books (47%)
* Camping (23%) versus hotels and guesthouses (77%)
“E-commerce is on the rise among the online community in South Africa, with many of us enjoying the convenience and ability to compare prices when shopping online. Flexibility and choice is a common theme in this year’s survey, with 48% of us saying we’d like to receive vouchers as a gift, ensuring we can buy things we really want or need, in our own time, either online or in-store,” says Duvenage. “Finally, one thing is clear: we’re definitely a generous nation of gift givers.”