Love is alive and well in South Africa, a new survey has shown – with a dramatic increase in romance-driven online purchases on international lovers’ holiday, St. Valentine’s Day.
According to a survey conducted on News24 by PayU, 77% of respondents stated that they believed online shopping was the way of the future. A further survey, conducted by online shopping site Kalahari.com, revealed that 31% of shoppers said they chose to shop online for Valentine’s Day. And NetFlorist, an online flower and floral shop, experiences about a 59% profit increase each February.
Wayne Gosling, joint CEO of online group buying company Groupon SA, says there is a need for online companies to recognise the increase in sales and public interest in romantic deals around Valentine’s Day. “As shown by previous holiday sales, we’ve realised our service is one that people like to utilise especially over romantic holidays to experience things in their city that they wouldn’t normally know about; let alone get to try.”
Groupon SA offered a variety of options to romantically-minded customers, including a night away or a helicopter ride for two, jewellery, and spa Groupons. This kind of variety is essential to ensure successful online retailing, Gosling believes.
“Online shopping offers creativity at your fingertips,” he says. “Whereas previously one would have to spend hours searching for the right gift for the right situation – now it’s a matter of simply following a few links; it removes all hassle.”
Jewellery retailers have reported selling an increased number of diamond engagement rings: Sterns and American Swiss, both controlled by the Foschini Group, said Valentine week sales swelled by as much as 50% above normal.
Yumna Ebrahim, from economic analysis firm Econometrix, believes that the country’s prosperity over Valentine’s week can be attributed to South Africa’s economic resilience in comparison to retailers in the UK and US following the global recession.
According to Ebrahim, impulse shopping over the festive season, followed by favourable interest rates, could have a sustained positive effect on prosperity and consumer spending in South Africa.