January 2015 statistics reveal that online shopping now accounts for 12% of total credit card purchases, a 7% increase from the same period in 2014 says FNB who is seeing continuous growth in online shopping spending by its credit card holders.
The majority of these online transactions, 36%, were done on online retail and entertainment websites followed closely by professional services such as school fees, university fees, and professional-membership subscriptions.
“An increasing shift suggests that South Africans are realising the convenience that online shopping offers. The desire to view products in store is quickly being overtaken by the time it saves to select and order items online,” says Chris Labuschagne, CEO of FNB Credit Card.
More importantly, the efforts by online retailers, banks and card issuers to assure users of the security of online shopping, have paid off.
“Improved communication, tracking systems and continuously evolving secure transacting technology all ensure consumers of the safety of online shopping and the protection of their details, as well as delivery of their purchase,” notes Labuschagne.
The age group 20 – 30 has showed the most significant increase in online spend. This is in accordance with consumer trends of instant gratification and the always-on culture of, particularly young professionals.
As online shopping evolves, retailers will continue to enhance their offerings in order to fit the needs of different consumers. Most recently, local major retailers have started pilot phases of the concept “click and collect” which will see same day deliveries to an allocated box, for example at a fuel station or an office block, in order to add to convenience and cut down on delivery time.
Labuschagne highlights some of the most prominent pros of online shopping:
Customers are not only more comfortable with the concept of online shopping but also with the products and services that they order. Once you are used to the sizes of a clothing brand for example, it becomes much easier and quicker to just shop for the latest clothing item online. It is also easier to find an item that might not be available in a physical store on the store website plus the online store is more likely to have the item in stock.
In our rushed lives, shopping online is an all-round time saver. Shopping for gifts or miscellaneous items can take hours of walking up and down the aisles to different stores to compare quality and price. This can easily be done online by opening various tabs or using online price checking sites.
It also takes the hassle out of returning items as couriers collect packages from you – an online shopper therefore never has to battle with finding the time to return an item.
Budgeting for rewards
“It is worth reading up on the rewards programme that you are subscribed to as online shopping with your credit card is likely to afford you more rewards. FNB customers who shop online using their Gold, Platinum or Private Clients Credit Cards for example earn double eBucks,” mentions Labuschagne.
Rewards programmes have grown in popularity and customers have seen the benefits of efficiently using their credit cards. An average of monthly rewards earned can be calculated and allocated to grocery shopping or electricity purchases, freeing up money to spend on other expenses.
“It is expected that online shopping will grow exponentially in the coming year and we encourage consumers to make use of the value that shopping online with credit cards offer,” concludes Labuschagne.
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