Big increase in online shopping due to COVID-19

FNB has reported a major increase in online shopping by its customers during the first half of 2020.

According to FNB, average ecommerce spend recorded on FNB merchant devices grew by 30% year-on-year in this period, while the active ecommerce FNB Merchant base also increased by 15%.

FNB Merchant Services CEO Thokozani Dlamini said that the impact was not only on shopping behaviour but also the way in which customers pay for goods and services.

“For those consumers that still go into brick and mortar stores for groceries and other essentials, we have seen significant growth in the use of contactless card payments,” said Dlamini.

The biggest increase in sector ecommerce performance for the first half of 2020 was seen in the field of educational services, which saw a 320% increase year-on-year.

The electronic, electrical and computer sector also saw tremendous growth, increasing by 126% compared to the same period last year.

Only two industries saw a year-on-year reduction in ecommerce performance – transportation and related services (down 44%) and kodging, accommodations, and travel arrangements (down 51%).

Ecommerce trends

Dlamini said that while ecommerce saw an initial decline in spending in April 2020, growth has been consistent and strong in the months that have followed.

“From a rand value perspective, when compared to the average Q1 values (Jan to Mar), the lockdown period resulted in ecommerce spend decline of -21% in April 2020, while level 4 saw a recovery to 10% compared to the average Q1 values. Level 3 of the lockdown has seen further recovery to 12% compared to the average Q1 values,” said Dlamini.

“Behaviour will and has certainly changed quite rapidly on the back of COVID-19. Transaction volumes have increased at a much faster rate than value, indicating a lot of smaller purchases are being made.”

“Many customers who had reservations about shopping online are beginning to realise that the ease and efficiency outweigh trekking to shops and malls,” added Dlamini.

Ecommerce performance by sector between January and June 2020 on FNB Merchant Services is detailed below.

Industry ecommerce performance
Educational Services +320%
Electronic, Electrical and Computer +126%
Grocery shops, Supermarkets, Butcheries, Bakeries and Related +79%
Home and Office Furnishing +77%
Outdoor and Recreational +54%
Marketing and Subscriptions +49%
Restaurants, Bars, Fast Food and Related +32%
Retail +16%
Transportation and Related Services -44%
Lodging, Accommodation and Travel arrangements -51%

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Big increase in online shopping due to COVID-19