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Online shopping to increase ahead of festive period

By Staff Writer
Online shopping increased by 27% last year, and is expected to increase again this year in the month leading up to Christmas said First National Bank (FNB).
 
"Our statistics show that November 2013 online credit card spending on travel and entertainment increased by 30% and all other online purchases by 27%, when compared to the rest of the year," said Chris Labuschagne, CEO of FNB Credit Card.
 
Convenience paired with the safety of online transacting and the ease of goods being delivered to front doors is driving up online shopping volumes and frequency of purchases in general.
 
Most popular online shops
 
According to the South African e-commerce report, looking at trends in 2013, the most popular online store was Kalahari with 72.78% of people surveyed buying products from it. Coming second was Amazon, with 63.01% of people shopping there. Of the grocery stores, 60.33% of people shopped at Pick n Pay online.
 
However, the most popular products bought online were books. This made up 45.77% of purchases of people surveyed. A close second, at 40.29% were airline tickets.
 
Of the online shoppers surveyed, 26.74% of them spend between R201 and R500 a month, and 21.60% spend between R501 and R1000. The report also highlighted that most people shop online due to the competitive prices, as well as the quality of products they can find online compared to shopping in-store.
 
If the 2013 figures are anything to go by, then 2014 December online shopping will see an increase too. "Given customers' increased comfort with online shopping we expect this trend to accelerate over the 2014 holiday period," said Labuschagne.
 
Tips for shopping online
 
The report highlighted that most orders take between one to four days to be delivered, sometimes even stretching to 10 days depending on the product and where it is being shipped from. Laubschagne says that people should order their online purchases well in advance as to give themselves adequate time to make returns if they are not happy.
 
Furthermore, when it comes to safety, Labuschagne says that the necessary precautions need to be taken, regardless of where someone might be shopping.
 
"There is a level of risk involved in any transaction, whether carrying cash after an ATM withdrawal or shopping in a store and running the risk of shoulder surfing. That being said, safety precautions are easy to apply irrespective of whether you shop in store or online," said Labuschagne.
 
FNB advises adopting the following should apply the following precautions to further reduce any risk, said Labuschagne:
 
  • Always look for a padlock displayed in front of "https" in the browser - this indicates a secure site,
  • Update your anti-virus and spyware software on all your digital devices regularly,
  • Try to store your credit card details on as few sites as possible,
  • Before transacting online, check the overall functionality of the website.
 
"For those still hesitant, the upcoming festive season is the ideal time to put online shopping to the test," concludes Labuschagne. But remember to stick to your Christmas budget as not to overspend.

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