Festive splurge helps online retailers

By Asha Speckman Time of article published Jan 6, 2011

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Kalahari.net and a few other online retailers recorded bumper sales for the festive period, with year-on-year growth exceeding the targeted 25 percent level.

Consumers mostly splurged on games, DVDs, CDs, books and high-end electronics such as iPads, eReaders, DStv Drifta – a portable mini-decoder that fits cellphones and iPads – and the portable PlayStation Move.

Kalahari.net, one of the country’s biggest online retailers, said To the Point, the controversial autobiography by former Proteas cricketer Herschelle Gibbs, was among the three most popular book titles. It sold more than 750 copies.

Gary Novitzkas, the general manager of Kalahari.net, said sales had exceeded the 25 percent growth target the company had forecast before Christmas.

Novitzkas said the iPhone 4 was a “big hit” with consumers. “We still expect these types of consumer electronics to play a big role this year.

He said the most expensive item sold was the MacBook Pro notebook at R23 999 each.

In 2009 electronic games were the most popular.

NetGifts, a sister company to online flower distributor NetFlorist, said it had realised a 30 percent year-on-year growth rate and processed about 15 000 transactions during December.

Sue Morris, the marketing executive for NetFlorist and NetGifts, said: “We were not expecting extraordinary growth as it is effectively the launch of a new brand and it takes time for a brand to gain traction in the market.

Items most popular with consumers were its gourmet Christmas baskets, Christmas biscuits and branded products such as Ritzenhoff tableware

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Flights in a vintage Tiger Moth biplane at R1 875 and Swarovski jewellery sets, which retail at between R2 000 and R3 000, were very popular

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Morris said NetFlorist sales grew 15 percent year on year and she attributed this growth to its new range and spillover from the NetGifts website

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She said more growth was expected in the online shopping market this year.

“The ability to use debit cards as well as credit cards to transact on many sites will have a positive impact this year.

“The growth of mobile is a key trend which all e-tailers will need to be on top of.”

Online auction website BidorBuy.co.za reported a spike in sales listings of unwanted Christmas gifts

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“In the days following Christmas, a search for ‘unwanted gift’ on BidorBuy returned almost 100 listings,” said Jaco Jonker, the company’s chief executive.

The most expensive unwanted gift on the site was a 40 piece Rosenthal Versace Medusa dinner set, complete with cups and saucers. It was listed on auction with the starting bid at R16 000. - Business Report

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