South Africans have changed the way they shop, thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic and government-mandated lockdowns.

This change in behaviour is expected to continue for the remainder of South Africa’s lockdown – and also once restrictions are lifted.

This is according to the Smart Shopper study commissioned by Google, which aims to help companies form new brand, marketing, and consumer strategies to reach customers.

“From a shopper’s initial research up until the moment of purchase, suddenly many customer journeys are predominantly taking place online,” stated the report.

Below are four key trends from the report which South African companies must keep in mind going forward.

1. Online purchases are growing fast
The online purchase share for slow moving goods – particularly in the consumer electronics, home and garden, and fashion segments – has doubled year-on-year.

“Post lockdown, we expect shoppers will still shop online, and partly swing back to offline shopping habits,” stated the report.

The graphic below details this increase.

2. Buying decisions are made online
More buying decisions are being made online, and shoppers are spending more time discovering and researching what they want to buy online.
“Focus even more on online ads and online marketing by adjusting your marketing mix for digital,” stated the report.

3. Shopping apps are on the rise
35% of all South African consumers have shopping apps installed on their phone, stated the report.
This is compared to 30% in 2019.
Purchases on mobile web still make up a bigger share than apps, however: 58% versus 38% in 2020.

4. Loyalty is not guaranteed
Consumers are showing an interest for trying new brands, and COVID-19 has “massively accelerated digital consumer trends”.
This has seen consumers’ shopping preferences shifting and buyers seeking out new products.

See the full report: