South Africans opt for Internet shopping

Zweli Mokgata

Zweli Mokgata

CONSUMERS are turning to the Internet to help cut shopping costs in response to the global economic downturn's impact on disposable income.

This according to a study recently conducted by second national network operator Neotel's consumer division.

Neotel published the report on Friday, advising shoppers to rather shop online and save money.

It said that with reputable banks and retail stores using the latest security technology and encryption techniques, sites were becoming virtually fool-proof.

As a result, online retailing in South Africa was growing at around 35percent a year. Neotel said consumers could save an average of 20percent of their usual budget by shopping online.

Julie Thomilson, director of Sybase Mobile South Africa, said South Africa was the fourth largest user of mobile Internet services (behind the US, UK and India) despite the high prices.

"We are definitely seeing people going online before going to the actual shop to find the best deals," she said. "With some products people will want to touch and feel the product, but with less personal items, they are content to shop online."

She said that when network infrastructure in Africa started to approach international levels, even lower-income users would rely on e-commerce.