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Mastercard’s study reveals increase in online shopping among SA consumers

Mastercard's study reveals increase in online shopping among SA consumersMastercard’s recent study on consumer spending has revealed that 68% of South African consumers are shopping more online since the onset of the COVID 19 pandemic.

With fewer opportunities to browse in the stores or on the high-street, social media has emerged as the main platform for finding attractive products and offers, with 64% and 41% of respondents saying they had discovered new sellers through Facebook and Instagram respectively.

Essential items have seen highest surge online with the majority (81%) of South African consumers saying they purchased data, and over half saying they bought clothing (56%) and groceries (54%) online since the pandemic started. The research has also shown that the times have made consumers more generous with nearly a quarter (23%), saying they have donated more to charity than pre-lockdown.

While adapting to the ‘next normal’, people have been changing the way they consume entertainment and learn new skills. In fact, 68% of South African consumers said they used the time during the pandemic as a positive learning experience. Two thirds (76%) of respondents learnt to bank online, while more than a half learnt to cook through online tutorials (55%), manage their health and get their medicines online (52%) or trained themselves in Do-It-Yourself (51%). Around 39% of respondents enrolled in an online university or educational course, 29% learnt to dance, and 28% learnt to do make-up.

Mastercard has also indicated that as people spend more time at home, the demand for online entertainment has also surged, with 52% of respondents saying they have spent more money on virtual experiences than they did before the pandemic. The majority of consumers (88%) have participated in video calls for work or leisure, three quarters (75%) have watched TV or films through an online subscription service, three in five (60%) have watched comedy online, and nearly half (47%) have taken part in a virtual cooking class.

“We have all been adjusting to a new way of living and are understandably shopping more online, though it’s not just for essentials like data, clothing and groceries but for virtual experiences ranging from films to cooking classes. What’s more, this trend appears to be here to stay as 71% of respondents say they will continue to shop online post-pandemic. Now more than ever people need access to the digital economy and all of us at Mastercard are constantly working to make the online shopping experience more inclusive, simple, seamless and secure for everyone, whether you’re shopping for essentials or experiences,” said Suzanne Morel, Country Manager at Mastercard, South Africa.

Consumers are also becoming increasingly aware of the associated risks of shopping online. 64 % of respondents said that a secure checkout experience is integral to a good shopping experience, as are easy return policies (65%), and promotions and loyalty programmes (62%).

Mastercard is a global technology company in the payments industry. The firm is committed to building a more inclusive digital economy that works for everyone. It is also making Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) central to its business model. In 2020, Mastercard expanded its global financial inclusion commitment, pledging to bring a total of 1bn people and 50 mn micro and small businesses into the digital economy by 2025.

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