TaitBrands Annual online shopping survey reveals SA's festive wishes

The third annual survey has revealed that 92.4% of South Africa's connected shoppers will be doing their festive season shopping online this year. This is an increase of close to 5% from 2011.

RSA  increase in festive season shopping is in line with that of counterparts in the US. According to a Google Retail Survey released last month, US shoppers will be spending $900 on holiday shopping this year compared to $854 in 2011; with 80% of respondents indicating that they found going online as the most useful way to get information for holiday shopping.

Key results:
  • Growing number of shoppers planning to take to their iPads for online shopping this festive (17.9%); with majority opting for laptops (59.2%), followed by Desktop PCs at (49%)
  • 40.8% of shoppers have already started their festive season shopping, with 33.6% only planning to fill festive stockings during the first and second week of December
  • Tablets predicted to be the biggest seller this festive season (35.7%); followed by media items such as books, CDs, DVDs and games
  • Tablets still coveted gift for the second year in a row: Apple iPad still most wanted tablet (55%); followed by Samsung Galaxy Tablet (28%)
  • Samsung and Apple jostle for a spot on the Smartphone gifting wish list: 35.8% shoppers want iPhone 5; followed by 30.7% who want a Galaxy S3; whilst 19.6% want a BlackBerry 9900 
  • Jamie Oliver; Game of Thrones; Fifty Shades of Grey and JK Rowling battle it out as festive season literary favourites
  • Race still open for annually contested title for best-selling local book 
  • Of those buying toys for their kids, Lego is again the favourite

November sales up

The survey also reveals that just over 40% of South Africa's connected have already hit the e-Shelves to stock up on their festive season shopping with 33.6% of shoppers saying they intend to start their festive season shopping during the first and second weeks of December. "The trend to go shopping in November is congruous with Black Friday shopping in the late November, where shoppers officially kick off their festive season shopping in the US and more recently the UK," says Hillock. A study by IBM including 500 retailers reported that online Black Friday sales were up by 24.3% in 2011.

"We are certainly seeing more shoppers forgoing the busy rush of festive shopping malls for the convenience of online shopping. Last year the annual festive season shopping survey showed that only 13% of connected shoppers elected to hit the malls for their seasonal shopping, a number, which has decreased to 9.6% this year." 

However, this does not mean that South Africans are not excited about the festive season. "Festive cheer is certainly on the up, with only 7.6% of shoppers saying that they pretend that festive season happens in an alternative reality; this is compared to close to 14% of the respondents from the 2011 survey who had the same sentiment. This could be a sign of a fresh economic outlook or a bolstered disposal income for shoppers."

What's under the tree

Electronics are still the most coveted gift by shoppers with the craze spearheaded by tablets (34.6%); followed by eReaders (13.8%) and the DStv HD PVR Decoder (13.1%). When asked which tablets they would want as a gift, shoppers gave a resounding nod to the Apple Ipad (55.5%) which was followed by the Samsung's Galaxy Tablet at 28%. "However, the bestselling device on remains the gobii 7"colour eReader, which plays music and video and retails at an affordable R799 with a free R160 eBook voucher," adds Hillock. 

Smartphones are also much desired this festive season, with the iPhone 5 being picked by the majority of shoppers (35.8%) as the hottest item they could be gifted with. Not far behind on the wish list with 30.7% is the Samsung Galaxy III, which is followed by Blackberry's 9900 with 19.6% of respondents hoping to get one for Christmas. 

When asked what they thought would be the best sellers for the season, the majority of respondents thought this would be tablets (35.7%), followed 30.7% saying a variety of media items such as CD's ; DVDs; Games; and books, would top the sales list. 

Stocking Fillers

  • Books: This year the titles vying for best holiday reads are Jamie Oliver's 15 Minute Meals, (37.9%); fantasy drama came in second with 27% of consumers hoping to add royal betrayals and drama to their reading list with the complete box set of Game of Thrones by George R.R Martin. One of the year's most talked about books, Fifty Shades of Grey, is in third place (21.2%) as a desired read for the holidays; whilst JK Rowling's follow-up out of Hogwarts, Casual Vacancy, comes in fourth place (18.9%) as the season's literary favourite. "The difference in this year's top book favourites is that there are few local authors competing for the top position compared to last year and 2010. The local Afrikaans children's book Storieman Omnibus 1 & 2 is doing well. However, what we are not seeing is an outright winner as we did in previous years, which was driven predominantly from the sports biography genre."
  • Toys: 25.4% of shoppers that will be buying toys for kids are opting for the timeless classic, Lego, for their children. Close to 10% of shoppers said they would buy the educational LeapPad 2 and only 6.2% of shoppers saying they would buy Barbie Dolls.
  • DVDs: Batman beats the other action-filled titles as the most coveted holiday season DVD with The Dark Knight Rises (36.4%); followed by the cool Ice Age 4 (25.8%). The crash of superheroes in The Avengers takes third position (22.7%) as a holiday favourite followed by Peter Parker in The Amazing Spider-Man in fourth place (15.9%).
  • CDs: With a collection of artists such as Toya Delazy, Prime Circle, Rihanna and PSY Now 62 emerged as the most desired CD with 27.1% of respondents hoping to be gifted with the album. Las Vegas rockers, The Killers, come in second (22%) with their fourth studio offering Battle Born. Sweeping into colourful third position is Taylor Swift's Red (14.7%), followed by Indie Rockers Mumford and Sons with their album Babel at 13.7%. "We will be keeping a close eye on what bestselling album for the summer will be, as over a quarter of the respondents indicated that they had 'Other' albums in mind, as the sound track this festive season." 
  • Games: Action is the name of the game this year with Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 emerging as the gaming favourite (24.7%), followed by Assassins Creed 3 at (24.2%). Kicking into third place as a contender is FIFA 13 with close to 20% of respondents scoring it as a favourite. 
  • Home and Away: When asked what type of home appliance they would most want for the festive season, respondents gave 31.5% for a coffee maker, followed by a 22.8% of respondents who wanted an ice cream maker followed by the biltong maker (10%) also voted in as firm favourite. Braaing equipment (22.6%), picnic and beach gear (21.3%) and camping gear (19%) also made the gift wish list in the tools and outdoor category.
    "We have run the annual shopping survey for the third consecutive year and know that some of the shoppers' predictions are spot on while some, especially at the height of the festive season, come as a surprise even to us. 

    New categories including homeware, appliances and pets are doing exceptionally well and South Africans continue to take advantage of the wide range of products and cost-savings found online. 


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