South Africa E-Commerce Market - Growth, Trends, COVID-19 impact, and Forecasts (2022 - 2027)

The South Africa E-commerce Market is Segmented by B2C ecommerce (Beauty and Personal Care, Consumer Electronics, Fashion and Apparel, Food and Beverage, Furniture and Home), and B2B ecommerce.

Market Snapshot

South Africa E-Commerce Market Size
Study Period: 2020-2027
Base Year: 2021
CAGR: 12.5 %

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Market Overview

E-commerce is growing at an unprecedented rate in South Africa. According to Business Insider, this surge was mostly influenced by restrictions placed on traditional retail outlets, which resulted in a 30% fall in in-store shopping. While several sectors of the economy were hamstrung by various degrees of lockdown in 2020, internet retailers saw a surge in sales as South Africans opted for home delivery over shopping malls and stores. Further, the market is expected to grow at a CAGR of 12.5% during the forecast period (2022 - 2027).

  • The proliferation of smart devices and the expansion of internet connectivity has created an e-commerce platform. Apart from that, increasing integration of e-commerce platforms with various advanced technologies such as cloud computing, artificial intelligence, and predictive analytics is also driving the growth of the South African e-commerce market.
  • Based on the payment mode, various digital payments such as bank transfers, cards, cash on delivery (COD), direct delivery, electronic wallet, etc., are becoming more popular in South African countries.
  • Consumers also use electronic wallet services and EFT for online payments. Moreover, with an e-wallet, customers can receive, store, and use the money on their mobile phones with or without internet access. South Africans are familiar with online shopping, experience the convenience of online shopping, and may shop online more often in the future.
  • Smartphone penetration is also playing a very important role in shopping trends. This is due to the fact that convenience is another major reason why people choose to shop online. They have access to a wide range of products to compare reviews and can instantly satisfy their purchase with the click of a button. With flexible alternatives to traditional courier services, South Africa can continue to grow e-commerce by ensuring that deliveries are not missed.
  • E-commerce is one of the few sectors in COVID-19 where consumer interaction has increased. In South Africa, the lockdowns in 2020 have made online shopping a trend. These lockdowns or home orders highlight the value of e-commerce as consumers are forced to stay home and find other digital shopping options in South Africa.

Scope of the Report

E-commerce refers to any form of commerce that takes place online. This is defined as buying and selling goods over the internet on any device. E-commerce is typically categorized into two different models, B2B and B2C, based on the type of participants involved in the transaction. The market studied includes segmentation based on the categories based on different product types, and also the market studied briefs about the COVID-19 impact on the country and current ongoing e-commerce trends as well.

By B2C ecommerce
Market size (GMV) for the period of 2017-2027
Market Segmentation - by Application
Beauty and Personal Care
Consumer Electronics
Fashion and Apparel
Food and Beverage
Furniture and Home
Others (Toys, DIY, Media, etc.)
By B2B ecommerce
Market size for the period of 2017-2027

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Key Market Trends

Fashion industry to have significant growth in the country

  • Digitization has progressed in South Africa in the last few years. All major domestic and international clothing retailers have an online presence and are investing heavily in e-commerce platforms to improve the user experience. Even online-only retailers like Superbalists and Zando already have a competitive advantage over apparel specialists in the e-commerce business with their mobile apps. Mobile phone penetration is increasing the market for online shopping in South Africa.
  • South African retailers can also learn a lot from the experience of companies that have successfully adapted to hybrid models. Retail chains that have invested in online experiences as part of a broader transformation to deliver a better customer experience are on track. Walmart has made significant investments to improve the online customer experience. Their website has the same simple and intuitive interface and many product information found on major e-commerce sites. Customers can order online, deliver the item, or buy online and receive it over the counter.
  • Further, digitization affects many aspects of the business, not only in shopping but also in payments and deliveries. Companies in the country are focused on innovating payment solutions, such as PayJust Now, a digital version of the traditional lay-by method that locals are accustomed to. PayJust Now allows users to collect items after the first payment, unlike traditional stores where customers have to pay the full amount before they receive the order. Platforms like this will leverage online shopping for the fashion industry in the country.
  • There is no shortage of demand for fashion across the country. However, the country is witnessing a rise in supply with growing internet penetration and a mobile-first population. The stage is set for a fashion e-commerce boom. Further, it needs to build robust and effective platforms that connect consumers to entrepreneurs to maximize the opportunity.
  • Moreover, according to the African Development Bank Group, sub-Saharan Africa accounts for almost 1 percent of the world's fashion exports. The global customer base provides African designers, especially high-end African designers, with the opportunity to attract more customers with price-worthy purchasing power. The use of digital tools can help African fashion brands pursue global success.
South Africa E-Commerce Market Trends

Internet and Smartphone penetration are driving the e-commerce market in the country

  • E-commerce is attractive in South Africa due to the surge in smartphone usage and poor landline infrastructure. This presents immense opportunities for online retailers as mobile spending is expected to increase. Enterprises need to incorporate mobile optimization into their e-commerce products to improve their buying experience.
  • Mobile phones have replaced wallets as banks, card operators, retailers, and carriers offer cash alternatives as payment methods. E-commerce uses mobile phones to pay for goods and services but has evolved beyond mobile banking into debit and credit transactions in the country.
  • In South Africa, retailers should pursue both in-store and online retail strategies. Being behind the rest of the world in eCommerce allows South African retailers to learn from global organizations and leapfrog to best in class. Integration between online and offline will make it easier to support the data exchanges and system interconnections needed for the omnichannel experience, which covers shopping in stores, online via mobile devices, or through social media interactions.
  • The Communications Department (DoC) and Digital Technology (DCDT), by-mid 2021, have completed the Digital Economy Master Plan and commissioned various stakeholders to develop an implementation plan. The division then developed a national digital and future skills strategy aimed at building an ecosystem of education and skills development that provides all South Africans with the skills needed to create and participate in the digital economy.
  • With increasing dependence and the transition to online activities in daily life, connecting more South Africans to the internet offers multiple benefits and opportunities across various sectors, such as access to new forms of convenience related to entertainment, communication, commerce, and education for consumers. The internet is an effective promotional tool in the country today and will improve various businesses in the future with connectivity across the world.
South Africa E-Commerce Market Forecast

Competitive Landscape

The South African e-commerce market is moderately fragmented with various key players in the market. The companies are focusing on innovating new solutions by adapting to new technologies. New entrants in the market are also driving the e-commerce market by offering easy solutions to consumers.

  • May 2021 - Decathlon, one of the world's largest retailers of sporting goods, plans to open a "first of its kind" sports hub in Johannesburg, South Africa. The hub has a two-story retail space, wellness, strength and conditioning studio on the third floor, and 160 covered parking spaces.
  • October 2021 - South African e-commerce retailer Takealot Group has begun construction of a new distribution center (DC) in Cape Town. It is scheduled to open in August 2022. The 24,000 sqm facility consists of 22,000 sqm warehouse space and 2,000 sqm offices, offering Takealot's expansion options to add 50,000 sqm warehouse space in the early stages.

Recent Developments

  • April 2021 - US-based retailer Amazon will set up a new African headquarters in Cape Town, South Africa. The government approved the proposed multipurpose development on 15 acres of land to boost the city's economy, with Amazon headquarters as the project's main tenant. Development is in stages and is expected to be completed within 3-5 years.
  • December 2021 - South Africa TFG Ltd expands the e-commerce business by purchasing Quench, an on-demand online shopping platform and last-mile delivery service. The acquisition will give the company access to fast and reliable delivery across the country.

Table of Contents

  1. 1. INTRODUCTION

    1. 1.1 Study Assumptions and Market Definitions

    2. 1.2 Scope of the Study

  2. 2. RESEARCH METHODOLOGY

  3. 3. EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

  4. 4. MARKET INSIGHTS

    1. 4.1 Market Overview

    2. 4.2 Industry Attractiveness-Porter's Five Force Analysis

      1. 4.2.1 Bargaining Power of Suppliers

      2. 4.2.2 Bargaining Power of Buyers/Consumers

      3. 4.2.3 Threat of New Entrants

      4. 4.2.4 Threat of Substitute Products

      5. 4.2.5 Intensity of Competitive Rivalry

    3. 4.3 Key market trends and share of e-commerce of total Retail sector

    4. 4.4 Impact of COVID-19 on the e-commerce sales

  5. 5. MARKET DYNAMICS

    1. 5.1 Market Drivers

      1. 5.1.1 Growing Demand from Fashion Industry

      2. 5.1.2 Penetration of Internet and Smartphone Usage

    2. 5.2 Market Challenges

      1. 5.2.1 Slow Internet Speed

    3. 5.3 Analysis of key demographic trends and patterns related to ecommerce industry in South Africa (Coverage to include Population, Internet Penetration, ecommerce Penetration, Age & Income etc.)

    4. 5.4 Analysis of the key modes of transaction in the ecommerce industry in South Africa (coverage to include prevalent modes of payment such as cash, card, bank transfer, wallets, etc.)

    5. 5.5 Analysis of cross-border ecommerce industry in South Africa (Current market value of cross-border & key trends)

    6. 5.6 Current positioning of country South Africa in the ecommerce industry in region Europe

  6. 6. Market Segmentation

    1. 6.1 By B2C ecommerce

      1. 6.1.1 Market size (GMV) for the period of 2017-2027

      2. 6.1.2 Market Segmentation - by Application

        1. 6.1.2.1 Beauty and Personal Care

        2. 6.1.2.2 Consumer Electronics

        3. 6.1.2.3 Fashion and Apparel

        4. 6.1.2.4 Food and Beverage

        5. 6.1.2.5 Furniture and Home

        6. 6.1.2.6 Others (Toys, DIY, Media, etc.)

    2. 6.2 By B2B ecommerce

      1. 6.2.1 Market size for the period of 2017-2027

  7. 7. Competitive Landscape

    1. 7.1 Company Profiles

      1. 7.1.1 Superbalist.com

      2. 7.1.2 Takealot online Pty Ltd

      3. 7.1.3 Jumia

      4. 7.1.4 Zando

      5. 7.1.5 Decathlon

      6. 7.1.6 ToysRUs

      7. 7.1.7 SoFresh

      8. 7.1.8 UCook

      9. 7.1.9 Cosmetic SA

      10. 7.1.10 Care to Beauty

      11. 7.1.11 Evetech Pty. Ltd

    2. *List Not Exhaustive
  8. 8. Investment Analysis

  9. 9. Future Outlook of the Market

**Subject to Availability

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Frequently Asked Questions

The South Africa E-Commerce Market market is studied from 2020 - 2027.

The South Africa E-Commerce Market is growing at a CAGR of 12.5% over the next 5 years.

Superbalist.com, Takealot Online (Pty) Ltd., Decathlon, Sofresh, Care to beauty are the major companies operating in South Africa E-Commerce Market.

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