Airtime and data sales have exploded in South Africa

It surely doesn’t come as a surprise to most, but online shopping has increased significantly in South Africa in 2020. Also not surprising, sales of airtime is leading the charge.

Read: South Africans turn to e-commerce for Black Friday

Mastercard has released a new study showing how customers’ shopping behaviours have changed in recent months and 2020 as a whole, and have found that airtime sales have grown more than any other type of purchase. Other winners during the coronavirus online shopping boom has been clothing sales and groceries.

According to the study, more than two-thirds of South Africans are shopping online more now than they did prior to COVID-19 affecting our day-to-day lives. A similar amount of people have taken to online banking for the first time rather than going into a branch. Contactless and digital payment options have also exploded in stores where people do still frequent.

“As e-commerce increasingly becomes a part of everyday life, consumers are moving other aspects of their financial management to digital, with 76% of respondents having learnt how to bank online,” Mastercard said in a statement. “This trend appears to be here to stay as 71% of South Africans say they will continue to shop online post-pandemic,” said Mastercard South Africa country manager Suzanne Morel.

Importantly, more than 80 percent of South African consumers have shopped online for data and airtime services, a massive increase over previous years.

More than 52 percent of respondents said they spent more money on virtual experiences than before the pandemic. A vast majority, more than 87 percent, of consumers have participated in video calls for work or leisure, and about 75 percent have watched TV or films through an online subscription service. Almost half of the respondents have taken to online platforms to watch cooking instructive classes and almost 60 percent have watched comedy online.