The growth of ecommerce marketing solutions in South Africa is directly linked to the growth of the ecommerce sector. Investment in marketing is necessary to grow your business. Yet, at the same time, counterintuitively, investment in marketing is one of the first things to be cut when times are tough.

South Africa, like the rest of the world, has gone through a significant economic downturn since early 2020. While the retail sector, in particular, suffered catastrophic setbacks on the back of the global pandemic, online shopping has enjoyed incredible growth.

Those companies that doubled down on their ecommerce marketing investments when markets began suffering were the ones that have benefitted the most from the ecommerce boom.

South Africa’s Ecommerce Growth

In line with the rest of the world, South Africa’s ecommerce sector has seen phenomenal growth over the past two to three years. Since 2018, the value of the South African ecommerce sector has more than doubled. According to a study published by World Wide Worx in May 2021, the local ecommerce sector went from being worth about R14-billion in 2018 to about R30-billion in 2020.

This massive growth is attributed mostly to Covid-19 and the stay-at-home measures put in place by the lockdowns, as well as the general fear of consumers to venture out into traditional brick-and-mortar retail outlets. These unprecedented events caused ecommerce growth at rates no one could have anticipated.

Although the ecommerce growth in 2020 was as much as 50% greater than anyone had predicted before the outbreak, it is expected that the growth figures for 2021 will still be stronger than before the pandemic but much less dramatic than in 2020.

The expected plateauing of ecommerce growth in 2021 is attributed to the rollout of the Covid-19 vaccinations and subsequently decreased rates of infections across South Africa. As fears decrease and lockdown measures ease up, more and more people will return to shopping at physical locations.

Although the curve is flattening, the growth of the ecommerce sector is likely to remain a permanent consequence of the pandemic as many people have become accustomed to shopping online and will likely continue to do so from now on.

Despite all the growth, however, ecommerce will only make up for about 4% of all retail sales in South Africa by the end of 2021 – up from about 1.4% in 2018. This means that there is still massive room for growth in the space in years to come, although ecommerce growth is pretty much guaranteed to cannibalise brick-and-mortar retail market share.

Ecommerce Marketing Growth

Naturally, as ecommerce continues to grow at historic rates, so too does the need for ecommerce marketing solutions.

This parallel growth is needed to raise awareness and drive traffic towards online stores. The more ecommerce options become available; the more awareness needs to be raised about them.

Despite the fantastic growth of the ecommerce sector, the growth of ecommerce marketing and its penetration is entirely dependent on the availability of Internet access, in which South Africa still has much room to improve.

Be part of the ecommerce revolution. There is still time to be an early adopter as this market segment continues to grow year on year.

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