A newly published report, The State of Shopping App Marketing Report, 2020 Edition, shows that there was a 93% growth in in-app purchases between April and May 2020 in South Africa. The significant increase in e-commerce is mainly attributed to the lockdown that started at the end of March 2020 in South Africa.

This finding correlates with a report by Baobab Insights earlier in August 2020 which revealed that e-commerce Venture Capital deals in Africa spiked during the second quarter of 2020. This spike is attributed to various COVID-19 lockdown measures that drove consumers from brick and mortar shops to online stores.

β€œThe opportunity is tremendous for brands and marketers, with added pressure to not only provide access to eCommerce via shopping apps, but to also implement creativity, compassion and understanding throughout marketing efforts and user experience. Just as marketers need to meet consumers where they are, it’s important the shopping industry follows suit. With this report, coupled with a recognition that a frictionless experience is essential as shoppers navigate a new-to-them mobile experience, marketers are now equipped with the data and direction needed to create positive impact and ROI as brands across Africa slowly recover from the impact of lockdown,” said Daniel Junowicz, MD Latam & Africa, AppsFlyer.

Monthly percentage of in-app sessions in measured time frame (normalized)* for Middle East and Africa region. Source: The State of Shopping App Marketing Report, 2020 Edition

E-commerce spike in South Africa

AppsFlyer's report highlights key trends driving shopping patterns and behaviours around the world. Added to that it also reveals that the average number of purchases per user in South Africa in general retail apps increased by around 20% between March and April 2020.

Here are some of the notable South Africa-related insights from the report by AppsFlyer:

  • Activity in shopping apps surged during COVID-19 lockdown. Monthly percentage of in-app shopping sessions grew by 93 percent between April and May 2020.
  • Lockdown positively impacted the amount of customers looking to spend. Share of buying users dropped by 34% between January and March 2020 but rose again by the end of Q2.
  • More purchases per user for shopping and retail apps. 30% more purchases per user in December among overall shopping and retail apps compared to fashion apps.
  • Fashion apps see an increase in purchases per user in Q4. 45% growth in the number of purchases between October and December among fashion apps.

Opportunities for small businesses in South Africa

To put the 93% increase in online shopping in South Africa into context, between September and November 2019 online shopping in the country, with no lockdown in place, experienced a 43% increase.

This presents a great opportunity especially for many small businesses that have been economically affected by the lockdown to explore e-commerce as a way to acquire more customers through their mobile devices.

Retargeting peaked in Q4, while User Acquisition grew sharply during the COVID-19 pandemic.

"Given that in-app shopping activity skyrocketed during the Covid-19 pandemic in Q2, surpassing even the 2019 Q4 rush, we can expect Christmas 2020 to be one for the record books. This year, more than ever, it is critical that marketers prepare a carefully-planned strategy to ensure consumers are able to find, explore, and shop within their app instead of turning to a number of alternatives. Special attention should be given to messaging that relays a sense of empathy to rekindle the holiday spirit during troubled times," said Shani Rosenfelder, Head of Content & Mobile Insights, AppsFlyer.

The State of Shopping App Marketing, 2020 Edition from AppsFlyer is an anonymous aggregate of proprietary global data from 2.3 billion non-organic app installs across 1,800 apps, 14 billion retargeting conversions, and 390 billion sessions. Of this, 610 million non-organic app installs across 400 apps, 4 billion retargeting conversions, and 20 billion sessions, were specific to the USA.

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