Although e-commerce is taking the world by storm, its uptake is still rather slow in South Africa. VUYO MPAKO of Standard Bank believes this is mainly to do with our high broadband costs and limited Internet access.
E-commerce may be taking the world by storm, but South Africans remain wary of shopping online, with only three million making regular use of electronic shopping trollies to meet their daily requirements. But, with online purchases expected to near R10 billion in 2016, indications are that changing socio-economic factors will increase the use of digital shopping as technology becomes more accessible.
According to Vuyo Mpako, Head of Digital Channels and eCommerce at Standard Bank, two of the major problems facing South Africans are limited access to the internet and the cost of broadband. Mpako adds that although uncapped access to fibre networks is increasing in homes across the country, the cost – usually more than R600 a month – restricts access to those in higher-income brackets.
“As making homeowners’ access to fibre a viable economic proposition relies on high consumer take-up numbers, suppliers naturally target major urban areas. Thus, it is the cities and higher-income neighbourhoods that receive services. For e-commerce to become popular beyond city limits, the traditional barriers of large distances and poor infrastructure have to be overcome.”
Factors impacting on e-commerce sales locally include:
· A lack of trust in making online transactions
· The belief that internet purchases can only be made if the shopper has a credit card
· The internet may not be cheaper than local retail outlets
· Local buyers tending to buy non-food items only, such as music, videos, gifts, clothing and software online
“The true potential of e-commerce in South Africa can be seen from the fact that, although there are only about three million people using facilities regularly, the value of purchases made annually is increasing steadily,” Mr Mpako continues. “World Wide Worx indicates that a milestone of 1.03% of total retail sales of nearly R10 billion will be expected to be made online in 2016.
“Increasing use of e-shopping will be made by young South Africans who have high levels of computer literacy and are comfortable with using applications, or apps, that make access to services easier.
“Presently, this sector, comprising people between the ages of 25 and 35, makes up the bulk of e-commerce users. Not surprisingly, young South Africans between the ages of 25 and 34 make up the bulk of e-shoppers, followed by those between 35 and 44 – about 16% of the total.”
As predicted by experts, adds Mr Mpako, the increasing market penetration of smartphones is set to add further impetus to the use of e-shopping channels.
“While South Africa’s internet penetration lies at 34%, mobile phone penetration lies at 86%, according to World Wide Work numbers, and probably more than 50% of the adult population. As these mobile devices become more sophisticated, they bring easier access to streams of information and opportunities.
“Every facet of life is impacted by smart technology. Phones are used for everything from banking transactions to monitoring fitness levels and ordering groceries. It is inevitable that with the high penetration of smartphones in the market, more South Africans will be drawn to use their phone’s offerings.
“There is no doubt that as more services converge on smartphones, adoption levels will increase. Local consumers may at present be slow to adopt the technology, but more will see the value e-commerce offers. As this occurs, more people will come to trust the medium, realising the time saving benefit and potential for the medium to add real value to their lives. This will boost e-commerce and see larger numbers of South Africans moving into a digital shopping environment.”
Welcome to world of 2099
The world of 2099 will be unrecognisable from the world of today, but it can be predicted, says one visionary. ARTHUR GOLDSTUCK met him in Singapore.
Futuristic structures tower over the landscape. Giant, alien-looking trees light up with dazzling colours amid the hundreds of plant species that grow up their trunks. Cosmetic stores sell their wares via public touch-screens, with products delivered instantly in drawers below the screens.
This is not a vision of the future. It is a sample of Singapore today. But it is also an inkling of the world we may all experience in the future.
Singapore was the venue, last week, of the World Cities Summit, where engineers, politicians, investors and visionaries rubbed shoulders as they talked about the strategies and policies that would enhance urban living in the future.
As part of the Summit, global payment technologies leader Mastercard hosted a small media briefing by one of Singapore’s leading thinkers about the future, Dr Damian Tan, managing director of Vickers Venture Partners. The company’s slogan “We invest in the extraordinary,” offers a small clue to Tan’s perspective.
“We look as far forward as 2099 because, as a venture capital firm, we invest in the long term,” he tells a group of journalists from Africa and the Middle East. “Companies explode in growth because there is value in the future. If there is no growth, they won’t explode.”
The big question that the Smart Cities Summit and Mastercard are trying to help answer is, what will cities look like in the year 2099? Tan can’t give an exact answer, but he offers a framework that helps one approach the question.
“If you want to look at 81 years into the future, and understand the change that will come, you need to double that amount and look into the past. That takes us to 1856. The difference between then and now is the difference you can expect between now and 2099.”
- Arthur Goldstuck is founder of World Wide Worx and editor-in-chief of Gadget.co.za. Follow him on Twitter on @art2gee and on YouTube
Use the page links below to continue reading about Tan’s visions.
Win a Poster Heater with Gadget and Takealot.com
This winter Gadget and Takealot.com are giving away three Poster Heaters, which look like posters but become heaters when you plug them in.
Three Gadget readers will each win a unit, valued at R550 each. To enter, follow @GadgetZA and @Takealot on Twitter and tell us on the @GadgetZA account how many Watts the heater consumes.
What’s the big deal about these heaters? Many of us are struggling to keep the balance between soaring electricity costs and the need to keep warm this winter.
However, the recently launched Poster Heater by EasyHeat and distributed in South Africa by Takealot.com is not only one of the most cost effective electric heaters currently on the market, it is also easy to setup and use.
As the name indicates, it is a poster similar to one you would hang on a wall. But, plug it in and it turns into a 300 Watt heater. The Poster Heater isn’t designed to heat hallways or large rooms, but rather smaller ones like a bedroom or a baby’s nursery or a dressing room.
It uses radiant heating, which means that it heats up in a couple of minutes and the heat is directed at the objects or people around it, quickly taking the chill out of the air and providing a comfortable ambient temperature.
The other advantage of radiant heating is that it doesn’t dry out the air like infrared or gas heaters. Users also don’t have to worry about their children or pets getting too close to it because, even though it gets hot, it can be touched.
To enter the competition follow the steps below:
Competition entry details:
3. The competition closes on 31 July 2018.
4. Winners will be notified via Twitter on 1 August and Takealot.com will be in touch to organise delivery.
5. The competition is only open to South African residents.