Online retailers in South Africa have seen a massive surge in orders since ecommerce was allowed to fully reopen in April.
Shoppers flocked to ecommerce platforms to get their hands on products which were banned from being sold under previous lockdown measures.
Online shopping allows local buyers to self-isolate while purchasing a range of items, making it an ideal tool to help curb the spread of COVID-19 in the country.
In addition, online shopping was the only means of buying certain products normally available from physical stores, many of which had to remain closed for weeks.
More than two months after ecommerce was allowed to continue, demand has remained high, with many consumers now more aware of the convenience these services offer.
MyBroadband spoke to two major online stores in South Africa – Loot and OneDayOnly – to find out which of their products have been the most popular among their customers.
Loot said its most popular product categories were the following:
- Sports and fitness
- Baby products
- Computers and electronics
- Puzzles and toys
- Arts and crafts
Its top-selling items include personal protective equipment such as masks, hand sanitisers, gloves, and surface cleaners. A marked increase in the sale of treadmills and weights was also observed by the company.
“Customer’s purchasing habits have changed since before lockdown. Before lockdown, home gym equipment was very far from our top-sellers’ list, now sports and home gyms is one of our most popular categories,” it said.
“The home office has been another important sector that we have provided for, from desks and chairs to laptops, printers, and cartridges,” the company said.
Loot said its essential foods range, which was launched at the start of lockdown, was also seeing growth.
Other products which have been popular include:
- Printers, ink and toner
- Wearable tech
- Gaming consoles
- Electric blankets and heaters
- Kitchen and home appliances
- Puzzles, board games, and stationery
With regards to the pricing of products, Loot said it endeavoured to maintain pre-lockdown margins wherever possible, but had to increase prices on certain products that were particularly hard-hit by the decline in the value of the rand.
“The category most affected by this is computers and IT hardware,” the retailer said.
OneDayOnly said its biggest sales increase was recorded in the wine and liquor category, with a 500% surge in sales.
“This was definitely due to the alcohol sale restrictions initially, but those sales have continued to grow as our customers are enjoying the safety and convenience of having it delivered straight to their front door,” the company said.
For this category, Loot said it was working with a growing number of local wine farms as their sales outlets have dwindled.
It also saw a massive spike in homeware items, which was an indication of customers wanting to make their homes more comfortable, particularly in the bedroom and study.
“Our bestsellers have included beds, duck down duvets, and high thread-count linen,” OneDayOnly said. “We have also seen a huge increase in sales of office equipment and especially ergonomic chairs with so many of our customers now working from home.”
Its third big growth category was sports and health with items like fitness tracking watches, running shoes, and sporting apparel selling well.
Other top categories include cleaning appliances, as well as immune boosters and vitamins.
Below are the top 10 items sold on OneDayOnly since ecommerce was allowed to resume.
- Canterbury sporting apparel
- Duck Down duvets
- 2016 Franschhoek Unlabelled Shiraz
- Bed sets
- Vintage rugs
- Garmin watches
- Interlocking rubber floor tiles
- Sophie Te’blanche Sauvignon Blanc
- Freddy Jeans
- A4 personalised photobooks
OneDayOnly said despite the rand’s decline, its normal prices for products were unchanged, although it has had to increase prices on deals.