While Covid lockdowns and restrictions saw many more South Africans shopping online, the past year has also dramatically changed what people shop for online, according to the 2021 BrandMapp survey.
In the past, those who used the internet to shop focused on categories like fashion, books and electronics, but the lockdowns saw that change to shopping for groceries and basic essentials to be delivered to the door.
BrandMapp director of storytelling, Brandon de Kock said: “It’s in provisioning where we saw an incredible boom in the e-commerce space.
“Movement restrictions, alcohol bans and health anxieties drove unprecedented numbers of South Africans online to get the basics of life.
“In the process, many have now learnt how to do online shopping and have had the chance to get really good at it. They’ve also experienced the joys of grocery and alcohol deliveries to their doors.
“This has been a significant, probably game-changing, disruption to middle-class South Africa’s shopping habits and rituals.”
BrandMapp specifically surveys South Africans living in households with a R10 000+ monthly household income.
While that is only 30% of the population, they make up 80% of the country’s taxpayers and dominate consumer spend in the formal economy.
BrandMapp’s latest survey of 30 000 consumers was particularly focused on finding insights into whether online buying was “simply shopping behaviour driven out of necessity in locked down populations across the world or whether some of these behaviours would turn out to be ‘Covid-keepers’,” added De Kock.
BrandMapp also charted a view of “shopping mind-states” and the results had not really changed much over the past year.
“The three top mind-states are still: 57% of SA mid- to top-income shoppers prioritise price through sales and discounts; 45% are loyal to brands they trust and 44% say that quality is more important than convenience.
“It’s a sign of the times that saving cash is top of most people’s minds. Homebound and facing a global health crisis, we’ve been thinking more about the food we are eating and noticing more about the quality of things we have in our homes.”
De Kock noted that what continued to stand out was how low a priority ecofriendly purchasing is in SA.
“It’s a bit sad, but probably speaks to the combination of being chronically financially stressed and the fact that responsible consumerism in South Africa typically comes at a premium price.
“This makes it a privilege of the superwealthy no matter how concerned most of us are about the state of the environment.
“Realistically, how many people can afford almond milk and meat-alternative burgers?”