Covid uncertainty creates an E-Commerce boom in SA

COVID-19 lockdown in March and April saw many weeks of crippling retail restrictions. However, from 15 May unlimited ecommerce was allowed on all goods, except alcohol and tobacco. This easing of restrictions saw transaction rates sky rocket and peak at rates higher than Black Friday, as South Africans flocked online to buy. Online shopping volumes increased so rapidly that many online retailers struggled to cope, as some sales volumes more than doubled, causing logistic nightmares and delivery delays.

Transactions per minute doubled

Online payment platforms like PayGate and PayFast saw transactions per minute increase by double pre-lockdown average, with food, gaming, gym equipment and media players being the biggest driving forces. Basically, any product that could not be bought during level 5 lockdown, was in demand online. Since level 3 lockdown, one payment gateway has had to boost capacity by 700% just to meet consumer needs, another has registered over 7000 new merchants since the lockdown began, causing these figures to surpass the 2019 figures of the lead-up to Black Friday.

40% higher monthly volumes

Although this boom in ecommerce sales is expected to subside during June, expectations are that for the remainder of 2020, monthly volumes will settle at around 40% higher than 2019. There is no doubt that consumer behaviour has forever changed and will never return to that which it was pre-COVID. The simplicity and efficiency of ecommerce will be the thing that keeps consumers coming back for more.