South African e-tailers are bracing themselves for a bumper Christmas season of online shopping. 

“Traditionally the festive season is one of our biggest annual spend periods. Over the last few years we’ve seen considerable growth in online member spend with the eBucks shop, a trend we expect will continue this festive period,” says Lezanne Human, CEO of eBucks.
According to a recent report by World Wide Worx, which named the eBucks shop as one of the top two online malls in South Africa, local online spend is expected to increase by more than 35% to R929-million before the end of 2007, compared to the R688-million spent in 2006.
During the 2006 festive season, eBucks members spent a record R46-million worth of eBucks. The two largest contributors to member spend, online shopping on the eBucks website and instore spend with the eBucks card at retail partners, both enjoyed steady growth.
Economic modelling shows that eBucks spend patterns closely follow retail rand spend patterns. eBucks don’t expire and many members save their rewards earned during the year to add to their disposable income during the festive season.
“In line with the macro South African telecommunications picture, we expect an increase in airtime sales as airtime is an attractive spend opportunity for members with low eBucks balances," says Human.
"We also anticipate an increase in general voucher sales and electronics in the eBucks shop, and an increase in spend at our retail partners with the eBucks card as members use their eBucks to extend their in-store buying power,” adds Human.
eBucks has more than 1,2-million members and has allocated more than R940-million worth of eBucks to its members in seven years. eBucks’ member base is very active, with an average spend to earn ratio of 78%, exceeding the international benchmark for developed nations of 70%.
eBucks can be spent in the eBucks shop, at eBucks auctions, through eBucks travel, with eBucks’ Internet partners or at eBucks’ retail partners with the eBucks card.