South African retail sales amounted to R1 trillion in 2017 – translating to a spend of R31 900 per second, reports Stats SA. Meanwhile, PayPal predicts that our total online retail spend will be more than R45-bn by the end of this year.

Retail spend was up by 2.9% compared to 2016 in volume terms, says Stats SA. Food and beverage experienced the highest volume sales growth compared to 2016 (5%), with clothing showing a 2.3% growth.

In terms of retail sales at current prices, the second biggest sector is clothing and textiles stores, accounting for 18% of total retail trade sales.

SA online spend up by 19%

Total South African online spend is estimated to reach more than R45-bn by the end of this year, predicts the Cross-Border Consumer Research report*, done in partnership between PayPal and Ipsos. This is a 19% increase over last year’s figures, and PayPal expects online spend to reach R62-bn by 2020.

Of the 1 000 South African respondents surveyed, 691 are online shoppers of which 428 shop across the border. Of the shoppers, 12% only shop across the border, 38% only buy from South African retailers, and 50% buy from both.

The majority (58%) of online purchases in South Africa are made on a computer (desktop, laptop or notebook), the report found. The smartphone is the next most-used  device (28%) to shop with, while 9% of online shopping is done via tablets and 3% via other devices such as smart TVs, game consoles with internet connection, etc.

* The survey was done by 34 502 adults aged 18 and over who use an internet-enabled device – a desktop computer, laptop, tablet, smartphone, etc. – across 31 countries, of which South Africa is one. In each country between 1 000 and 2 000 people were surveyed online between 13 March and 1 May 2018.