Our survey shows that visiting shops is not something that the majority of young people in South Africa are going to stop doing in the future. In fact, just over one third (35%) anticipate using physical stores more often in future to research and purchase products, compared to 19% of older shoppers. In contrast 31% of older shoppers say they will use physical stores less, compared to 20% of young shoppers.
A physical presence seems to be important to youths who shop online as 37% (as opposed to 23% of adults) state that they only shop at online stores that also have physical shops.
While more than one in ten youths in South Africa say they will stop using physical stores altogether, more than one quarter state that they do not buy online at all (26%). This is notably higher than in other markets (for example, 6% in Italy, 1% in China and 4% in the UK).
Social shopping matters more to the young in South Africa
Young South Africans are more likely to go shopping socially in the future than their adult counterparts (38% vs. 21% of older shoppers). The proportion of each group who plan to shop socially however is similar.
Showrooming versus webrooming
Consumers of all ages in South Africa prefer to “webroom” – research an item online before going in-store. 60% do this as opposed to 43% who “showroom” – research in-store before buying online.
What do consumers want from retailers?
Lower prices tops the wish list for South African shoppers, followed by more choice and easier refunds/returns. Having a wide choice matters more to youths – 62% compared to 48% of adults. Older shoppers are much more concerned about improved customer and delivery services, as well as more loyalty cards: 50% of 22-65 year olds would like more loyalty cards, whereas only 36% of 16-21 year olds had this on their wish list.
Devices used when researching purchasing and paying for online shopping
Devices used for research do not vary significantly by age across the categories; tablets are the least used device, with PC slightly more popular than mobile.
When it came to paying, the large majority of transactions happen in-store for both groceries and fashion. When buying a mobile the split is slightly more even, with more than a third of purchases taking place online.
Security concerns are South Africa’s biggest “barrier” to shopping online
The main barrier to shopping online in South Africa is concern about the security of credit card and personal details. Cost of delivery is also an issue for all ages, whilst youths are significantly more concerned about the reliability of delivery. Meanwhile, adults are more worried about the difficulty of returning items.
Integrated offers are important for older shoppers
Adults have higher expectations concerning the integration of online and in-store services. For instance, 66% of older shoppers expect retailers to provide in-store support for products purchased online, compared to 59% of youths. Retailers who do not have a physical store presence could lose out when considering that one in five youths say they would only buy in-store.
The future of shopping in South Africa
Both the 16-21 year old age group and the 22-65 year old age group think that home delivery, online, and mobile/app will be important in the next few years, though adults feel significantly more strongly about home delivery. Customization of products is very important to all age groups in South Africa, with over half stating that this would be valuable to them in the future. Click & Collect is also a popular idea amongst both groups, although more so amongst adults, and both groups are interested in the idea of mobile wallet as a means of making payments.
About the Global Youth Retail study
Global Youth Retail study is a GfK proprietary study carried out in 10 countries (US, UK, Germany, Italy, South Korea, Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa). The total sample of 7,266 people includes a boosted sample of c. 5,000 16–21 year olds. The study explores attitudes and behaviors across grocery, personal care, fashion, mobile and personal electronics.
Global Youth Retail is a key component of GfK Future of Retail – market insights we provide based on best intelligence about the demand and expectations of today’s shoppers across all categories and markets. Bringing together sales facts, panel data and shopper research, we help generate the precise and future focused retail strategy you need for sustainable business success.