Consumer online buying patterns : a South African perspective.
This study examines the extent to which South African consumers have embraced online shopping as a retail channel, and what factors are acting negatively, preventing more consumers from adopting online shopping behaviour. An excellent comparison was reached by utilizing research data from other sources e.g. Master Card and Nielsen as to how South Africans fared with their overseas counterparts when it came to online buying. A sample of 440 possible respondents were chosen from the La Lucia Ridge Office Park business district as they fitted the profile of consumers who were aware of purchasing via the internet medium, and who had access to the internet. Data was collected using a web based questionnaire that provided built-in statistical and correlation tools. Statistical analysis revealed that more males (77%) made online purchases than females (61%). Most South Africans’ (29%) would make an online purchase after viewing a newspaper, catalogue, or handout advert and the majority of South African consumers bought from local and international online retailers (53%). Security (28%) was the primary reason for those not purchasing items online. Potential customers (75% of those who are currently not shopping online) wanted guaranteed online buying safety, and there was a strong indication (24%) that they needed to trust the online vendor. E-retailers and web developers have a huge responsibility to ensure their online purchasing portals are created with a strong security focus in mind and security should not be an afterthought. With the correct advertising and as internet usage increases, online buying has huge potential to grow amongst South Africans. In addition to creating secure web sites, recommendations were made for e- retailers to increase their efforts in valuing the customer, improving service levels, online web sites to be informative and be more user friendly, the possibility of greater utilization of the social media channel, and for online consumers to use their credit and debit cards in a responsible manner.