PayFast data reveals interesting online buyer characteristics

Shoppers using PayFast to make online payments

One of the biggest “positives” to come out of the COVID-19 pandemic is the rise in popularity of online shopping. This has been the response of many South Africans (and global citizens) to the social distancing rules and lockdown regulations. For any business owner it’s important to know as much as possible about your target audience and what their buying behaviour is. We’ve looked at how online payment trends have evolved in 2020 on the PayFast engine and offer insights into the ecommerce consumer.

Looking at our data from January to the end of May 2020 and comparing this data to the same period the previous year, we were able to pick up some interesting insights that are important for any online business.

Who shops online the most and with which device?

Our data shows that women shop online more than men, with 62% of all buyers being female versus 38% male. Millennials aged 25-34 years old account for the biggest group of online shoppers and are the most likely to shop online using their mobile device. In this age group 37% make payments with their mobile versus 28% on desktop. The least likely age group to shop online are 65+ who only make up 4% of all mobile payments.

How has the online shopper demographic changed since 2019?

Interestingly the fastest growing age group of online shoppers are Gen Zs aged 18-24. This young group of shoppers grew by 139% year on year. In comparison the group of shoppers aged 25-34 only grew by 55% year on year. Perhaps unexpectedly the second fastest growing age group are 55-64 year olds with 62% year on year growth. 

What are the mobile trends for online shopping?

Between 1 January and 31 May 2020 the majority of online payments were made using a mobile device, with 67% of all sessions registered on the PayFast engine coming from a mobile device versus 33% from a desktop. While the adoption of mobile shopping has been growing steadily over the last few years, from 2019 to 2020 mobile payments increased by a staggering 159%. During the same period desktop payments only grew by 37% year on year. The timeframe we looked at includes the lockdown, during which mobile payments increased by as much 42% compared to the same period before lockdown. Desktop sessions only increased by 22%, meaning many online shoppers resorted to shopping on their mobiles during lockdown. 

When do most people shop online and on which device?

Online shopping peaks between 11:00-12:00, probably coinciding with people at work taking a break. This timeframe also sees the highest volumes of payments made from a desktop. Overall desktop usage is dominant between 10:00-13:00. In contrast mobile usage peaks at 19:00, with the majority of mobile payments taking place in the evening between 18:00-21:00. It’s likely that mobile phones are the second screen and that people are shopping online while watching shows on a separate screen. 

If you run an online store then it’s important to understand your customer base so that you can cater to all of their needs to ensure they become recurring customers. If you aren’t doing so already, you should make use of platforms like Google Analytics to track visitors to your website and monitor their behaviour. This data can be priceless in helping you determine what you can do to improve the navigation and usability of your website, such as making sure it’s mobile-optimised, to ensure shoppers complete the checkout process.  

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