Hot off the heels of 2020, we are diving headfirst into the new year and are rather optimistic in our ecommerce and online payments predictions for 2021. While we may be experiencing the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic in South Africa, we are certain that ecommerce will continue to play a vital role in rejuvenating our economy and remain the preferred choice for shoppers who are taking self-distancing measures seriously.
Based on what the unprecedented growth that we recorded in our first ever PayFast Ecommerce Performance Index that analysed the local ecommerce industry in 2020, we are confident that 2021 will continue to see the digitisation of payments across various industries including retail, professional services and ecommerce.
For many businesses that had previously relied on selling their products or services in person, accepting online payments has been a significant step in digitising their offering to the South African market. As ecommerce adoption rates continue to soar, digital payment solutions will need to keep pace to ensure that customers continue to shop online.
Here are some of our ecommerce and digital payment trends for 2021:
Contactless payments are here to stay
As a direct result of the COVID-19 pandemic, contactless payment options have become widely implemented and accepted. Whether it be by smartphone through apps, card or wearable device – tap-and-go has become a convenient staple for South African shoppers. Not only is it a quick, safe and secure payment method, but many individuals are still wary about the virus spreading through surfaces and cash.
Mobile devices pave the way for social commerce
As more brands make use of social media to build their online stores, consumers will continually look for more seamless payment experiences that are mobile-friendly. 2021 will see the continued use of smartphones for ecommerce purchases – as well as further penetration of digital wallets such as Apple Pay, Samsung Pay and Huawei Pay into the local market.
Scan to pay continues to grow in popularity
Fast-tracked during the pandemic, QR code and app-based payment methods such as SnapScan, Masterpass and Zapper allow buyers to pay without touching any surface other than their own phone. Payments can be made at till points, restaurants, for parking and for online shopping – as vendors across the country adopt the technology. Brick-and-mortar retailers are accelerating this trend by offering a reward programme linked to payments made in-store via their own app.
Flexible payment options more sought after
Going into the new year, consumers are more financially stretched than ever. This will result in more flexible payment options for retail brands in their ecommerce stores. Solutions like the Buy Now Pay Later model, which Mobicred is based on for example, allow local shoppers to make repayments over a set amount of time, helping with monthly household cash flow.
While we are confident in our predictions laid out above, we are excited to see exactly how the above trends will pan out and what our 2021 Ecommerce Performance Index will reveal at the end of the year.