PayPal Suggests South Africans Prefer Digital Wallets

PayPal released data about mobile phone usage and mobile eCommerce at the Seamless Africa Conference in Cape Town earlier this week.

Online shopping is on the rise in South Africa. South Africans spent R37.1 billion shopping online in 2016, an increase of nearly 30% from the previous year. These numbers are expected to continue to grow as the majority of consumers see themselves shopping online more often.

In the same time period, online spend via mobile device grew by 65%. This indicates that South Africans prefer the convenience of mobile eCommerce. With this in mind, PayPal ran a survey of South African consumers to find out more about their mobile online shopping preferences and behaviours.

“Our survey has shown that South Africans want to shop online via their mobile devices,” said Efi Dahan, General Manager of PayPal for Russia, Middle East and Africa. “We found that many are already using their phone as a digital wallet, going so far as leaving their wallets behind to do all their transactions with their phone.”

The survey showed that many South Africans prefer the convenience of using their mobile device as a digital wallet:

  • 85% have used their mobile phone to make a purchase in the past year
  • 46% said that being able to shop on their mobile phone has made them buy more
  • 52% have said that in the past month they’ve left the house without their wallet at least once, preferring to do their payments with their mobile device
  • The majority of South Africans would rather leave their home without their wallet than leave their home without their mobile device (47% vs 53%)
  • Three of the top seven most used mobile apps were related to eCommerce

“eCommerce has the potential to connect consumers to the digital global economy,” continued Dahan. “The data showcases a huge opportunity for South African businesses to reap rewards and grow their businesses if they embrace mobile eCommerce and provide the convenience consumers all over the world crave.”

PayPal also asked respondents to rank a variety of stressful scenarios based on which would cause them the most anxiety. The survey results found:

  • 60% ranked losing their phone or having it stolen as a scenario that would cause them the most anxiety and worry.
  • This scenario tied with a home invasion for the highest response, and more South Africans are worried about having their phone stolen than getting fired from their job.

The survey was conducted by Johannesburg-based research company Answered Insight.

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