South Africans prefer using desktops over smartphones for online shopping

Although mobile commerce is booming globally, South Africans still prefer using desktops over smartphones when doing online shopping. This is according to a new online shopping report from global e-commerce website

The report found out that one out of every three online shopping transactions made in SA in 2018 was on a mobile device.

The report also found out that South Africans tend to spend less when using smartphones for online shopping. When they did shopping with the use of a phone, the average order value was only R428. It’s about R294 less than when using desktops (R722) and R416 less than using tablets (R844). iOS users spend more than Android users — R501 vs R417 on average.

The data also shows more women in South Africa shop online than men at 67% and 33% respectively.

Unsurprisingly, it’s the young generation that prefers online shopping. Almost half of all online shoppers (42%) are people between the ages of 25 and 34. They’re followed by people aged 18-24 (21%) and 35-44% (19%). The remaining 18% are consumers who are over 45 years old.

According to the research, the average order value of a South African shopper is always the highest in December (R625), followed by November and September (R619 and R489 accordingly).

‘’If you look at the shopping activity, it turns out November has the highest number of transactions — almost one-fifth (19.2%) of all the transactions made during the year. The second busiest month when it comes to the number of transactions was July (9.7%), followed by August (9.3%). The lowest number of transactions was noted in January (5.1%) with the average order value amounting to R269.’’ the report notes.

Consumers in South Africa shop more on Wednesday and Sunday (desktops) as well as on Monday and Friday (mobile). The most popular time of the day to shop online using computers is in the morning (6 AM to 12 PM) — that’s when half of all purchases were made. In case of mobile devices, the peak of sales occurred between 6 PM to 12 AM.

The most popular categories for online shopping among South Africans were: clothing, food on delivery, grocery, home & garden and sport.

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Nixon Kanali

Tech journalist based in Nairobi. I track and report on tech and African startups. Founder and Editor of TechTrends Media. Nixon is also the East African tech editor for Africa Business Communities. Send tips to

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