When it comes to buying the latest tech products, South Africans have several online retailers to choose from.
Conversely, the outlook for physical stores that offer tech products has grown increasingly gloomy in recent months.
Back in March, Massmart closed all of its Dion Wired stores following a retrenchment process. The store primarily sold tech items aimed at the high-end market.
Game, another one of the company’s stores which offers a limited selection of tech, including Bluetooth speakers, smartphones, and laptops, is also set to retrench up to 1,800 employees as part of a restructuring plan.
The company has stated, however, that it does not plan to close any stores.
Online computer hardware retailer Rebel Tech also closed its doors due to the impact of COVID-19 on its business.
For many other online tech retailers, however, COVID-19 has driven a surge in sales as the lockdown limited consumers’ ability to access physical stores.
This has been boosted by a need for laptops, routers, peripherals, and other devices which enable work-from-home setups.
Online shopping in South Africa is generally dominated by Takealot, although Loot also has a substantial product offering, which includes a variety of tech items.
The most prominent physical tech-focussed store currently available in South Africa – Incredible Connection – also offers an online ordering and delivery service.
We’ve compared the pricing of several popular smartphones, tablets, laptops, wearables, and gaming consoles available from these retailers to see where tech enthusiasts get the best value for their money.
For this comparison, we ignored any limited-time sales prices, although general discounts were included.
|Tech price comparison|
|Apple iPhone SE 64GB (2020)||R9,999||–||R9,999|
|Apple iPhone 11 64GB||R18,449||–||R18,499|
|Apple iPhone 11 Pro Max 64GB||R26,499||–||R25,999|
|Samsung Galaxy A51||R6,999||R6,699||R7,999|
|Samsung Galaxy S10 128GB Dual SIM||R14,720||R15,485||–|
|Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra 128GB Dual SIM||R25,499||R25,654||R29,999|
|Huawei Y5 Lite 16GB Single SIM||R1,949||R1,922|
|Huawei Y7 2019 Single SIM||R3,199||R2,999||–|
|Huawei P40 Lite 128GB||R6,499||R6,399||R6,499|
|Tablets and e-readers|
|Apple iPad 7 10.2-inch Wi-Fi 32GB||R6,999||–||R6,999|
|Huawei MatePad T8 32GB||R3,899||–||R2,999|
|Kindle Paperwhite e-reader||R2,999||R3,277||R3,499|
|Lenovo M8 8-inch 32GB||R3,499||R3,099||–|
|Samsung Galaxy Tab A 10.1-inch LTE 2019||R6,999||R6,505||R6,999|
|Apple 13.3-inch MacBook Pro (Core i5, 512GB storage)||R39,999||–||R39,999|
|Apple 13.3-inch MacBook Air (Core i5, 128GB storage)||R16,399||–||R16,999|
|Dell 15.6-inch Inspiron 3593 (Core i5, 8GB RAM, 1TB storage)||R10,999||R11,985||R11,999|
|Lenovo 15.6-inch Ideapad S145 (Core i5, 8GB RAM, 1TB storage)||R10,471||R10,850||–|
|Acer 14-inch Swift 7 SF714 (i5, 8GB RAM, 256GB)||R24,999||R23,817||–|
|Smartwatches and fitness bands|
|Apple Watch Series 5 44mm GPS Space Grey||R9,699||–||R9,999|
|Fitbit Inspire HR White and Black||R2,489||R2,333||R2,499|
|Fitbit Versa 2 Stone Mist Grey||R4,999||R4,641||R4,999|
|Garmin Forerunner 45 GPS||R3,989||R4,179||R3,999|
|Huawei GT 2 Classic 42mm Gravel Beige||R5,499||R4,443||–|
|Huawei Band 4e||R699||R648||R699|
|Samsung Galaxy Watch Active 2 40mm Black||R4,989||R5,426||R5,999|
|Samsung Galaxy Fit band||R1,789||R1,795||R2,299|
|Headphones and earbuds|
|Samsung Galaxy Buds||R1,999||R1,979||–|
|Turtle Beach Stealth 700 Gaming Headset||R2,735||–||R1,999|
|JBL T110 Wireless In-ear headphones||R465||R541||R599|
|Beats Studio3 Wireless Headphones||R7,045||R6,742||R6,999|
|Sony WH-CH510 Wireless On-Ear Headphones||–||R739||R699|
|VolkanoX Resonance Unplugged TWS Earphones||R1,550||R917||R1,299|
|JBL Charge 4 Pink||R2,999||R2,999||R3,299|
|JBL GO 2||R599||R628||R649|
|Marshall Woburn II Wht||R9,799||–||R9,599|
|Nintendo Switch Lite||R4,999||R4,999||–|
|PlayStation 4 500GB bundle||R6,599||R6,599||R6,599|
|Xbox One S 1TB||R6,985||R6,999||R6,999|
Our comparison showed that for the majority of products we compared, the price differences between retailers were small.
In many instances, the price was either the same or differed by a few hundred rand – rarely going beyond R1,000.
Consumers should, therefore, shop around and compare, as no retailer offered a significant price advantage over the competitors across the board.
Even though it is the only retailer out of the three which maintains and runs physical outlets, Incredible Connection’s prices competed fairly well with the online-only retailers, even beating them in certain instances.
Loot lacked certain high-profile products, although it boasted plenty of other devices from lesser-known brands which weren’t contained in this comparison.
What was evident, however, was that Takealot had the superior range – stocking nearly every product available from either Loot or Incredible Connection.
Buyers should also carefully consider other elements of the service offerings from each retailer, such as stock availability, delivery times, and charges before making a decision.
When it comes to delivery, Takealot charges a standard R60 fee for orders under R450.
Collection at R25 is also an option, with over 50 pick-up points available across the country.
Orders with a value above R450 qualify for free delivery or collection.
By comparison, Loot delivery for orders below the value of R350 are charged at R40 in main centres, whereas deliveries to regional areas are charged at R60.
Collection at Pargo pick-up points is charged at R40.
Those who choose to buy from Incredible Connection will be able to pick up their device in-store for free or opt for free delivery in 5 to 10 working days.
Economy and overnight delivery are also available, although the exact pricing for these options is not indicated on Incredible Connection’s Shipping page.