Cape Town-130403-Retail sales in South Africa are expected to reach R20bn in 2020 on the back of a surge in online sales of apparels, alcohol and tobacco products. Photo: Ross Jansen
JOHANNESBURG - Retail sales in South Africa are expected to reach R20 billion in 2020 on the back of a surge in online sales of apparels, alcohol and tobacco products.

A study by World Wide Worx for the next three years, from 2018 to 2020, show online retail sales more than doubling from 2016, to almost R20-billion, a year sooner than originally forecast in 2016.

The study shows apparel remains the fastest growing sector in online retail in South Africa, followed by “general” category.  

“Unsurprisingly, a fast-growing category is alcohol, tobacco and vaping. The increased online supply of vapes, juices and accessories suggest that the SA smoking bans, and the change in the legal status of marijuana during the survey, may have boosted consumption,” World Wide Worx says. David Morobe, regional general manager at Business Partners Limited says that small medium enterprises (SME’s) with wholesale/retail operations made up the largest non-financial sector in South Africa.

“With this in mind, as the country moves further into the Fourth Industrial Revolution and access to the internet continues to increase, business owners should start planning now for when the e-commerce industry booms,” says Morobe.

He says that SMEs should consider when planning to start or implement an e-commerce platform for their businesses:

This includes build and run a professional platform; create content; consider new roles in the company such as hiring a web manager, social media and content team.  He also says small businesses should ensure a secure payment option and shipping strategy and ensure consumers privacy.

 “As the country is still rolling out infrastructure to increase access to internet as well as working towards lowering the cost of data, there is room for a retailer to have both options to ensure that they are reaching the highest number of customers as possible,” says Morobe.

- BUSINESS REPORT