On-line retail boom expected in S Africa

ON-LINE retail is growing at a rate of 20% to 25% a year, contrasting with traditional forms of retail that are showing slower growth rates.

Arthur Goldstuck, managing director of leading technology research firm World Wide Worx, expects the growth of on-line retail to continue in SA for 10 years.

He says the "massive numbers" of new arrivals on-line will become shoppers in about four years' time.

World Wide Worx estimates that turnover of on-line retail was about R1,6 billion last year, ahead of R1,2  billion in 2008 and R930million for 2007. "It's robust growth but off a low base. There is a boom coming," Goldstuck said.

Two sites that have made inroads over the past two years offer a one-stop shop for consumers to access goods (many of them electrical) primarily from the US.

"They've transformed the market," Goldstuck says.

have2have.co.za, founded in 2004, specialises in electronic goods. Turnover of on-line sales was up 33% last year from 2008.

wantitall.co.za co-founder Justin Drennan says Christmas numbers were up about 70% from the previous year.

The big traditional on-line retailers are Pick n Pay on-line, Kalahari.net, Woolworths on-line, Digital Planet and NetFlorist.