eCommerce Fever

The Unspoken Numbers Circling SA’s Pandemic-Fuelled eCommerce Boom


September 17, 2020

The skyward impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on online shopping activities across the globe has been discussed so much that any attempt to restate it would border on the banal.

However, what has often been conspicuously absent or in short supply in such narratives or reportage are the numbers that gauge the extent to which the pandemic has directed an unlikely tailwind to the global industry. And that’s what is captured in AppFlyers’ just-released report titled: The State of Shopping App Marketing Report, 2020 Edition.”

In Africa’s most advanced economy, South Africa, e-commerce suffered a temporary setback as it was banned during the initial phases of the nationwide lockdown. But once e-commerce got the green light, e-tailers declared a surge of the kind seen during Black Friday events.

In its report, AppsFlyer, which claims to provide comprehensive measurement and analytics solutions, states that there has been a 93% growth in in-app purchases between April and May 2020 in South Africa, following the lockdown at the end of March.

It appears the restrictions on movement and mobility drove consumers from brick-and-mortar to online stores, as the surge dwarfs the 43 percent increase between September and November 2019.

AppsFlyer claims The State of Shopping App Marketing, 2020 Edition, is an anonymous aggregate of proprietary global data from 2.3 billion non-organic app installs across 1,800 apps, 14 billion retargeting conversions, and 390 billion sessions.

Highlighting the key trends across the globe driving shopping patterns and behaviors, the report shows in-app shopping activity has risen to new heights amid the coronavirus pandemic globally, with a 25 percent rise in e-commerce app installs. For context, this is 7 percent higher than the usually-frenzied Q4 Christmas season of 2019.

Data from the report also shows that the average number of purchases per user in South Africa in general retail apps increased by around 20 percent between March and April and the signs look positive for SMEs looking to acquire more customers through their mobile devices.

With this momentum and the fact that buyers are seeking convenient shopping options, marketers need to meet consumers where they are to drive sales and mimic the in-person shopping experience as physical shoppers increasingly become digital shoppers.

“The opportunity is tremendous for brands and marketers, with added pressure to not only provide access to e-commerce via shopping apps, but to also implement creativity, compassion, and understanding throughout marketing efforts and user experience,” said Daniel Junowicz, MD Latam & Africa, AppsFlyer.

“Just as marketers need to meet consumers where they are, it’s important the shopping industry follows suit. With this report, coupled with a recognition that a frictionless experience is essential as shoppers navigate a new-to-them mobile experience, marketers are now equipped with the data and direction needed to create positive impact and ROI as brands across Africa slowly recover from the impact of lockdown.”

With data trends being central to many marketers’ strategic decisions, notable South Africa-related insights from the report include:

  • Activity in shopping apps surged during the COVID-19 lockdown: 

The monthly percentage of in-app shopping sessions grew by 93 percent between April and May 2020.

  • Lockdown positively impacted the number of customers looking to spend:

The share of buying users dropped by 34% between January and March 2020 but rose again by the end of Q2.

Featured Image Courtesy: TheSmallBusinessSite

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