Far from the madding crowd: Forget shopping malls, do your Christmas shopping online

It happens every year – one moment you’re lustily singing Auld Lange Syne, and the next you find yourself humming something about decking the halls.

The festive season is rapidly approaching, and whether we’re ready for it or not, it’s time to start compiling Christmas lists. Luckily for those who take little joy in braving the hordes in shopping malls, the Christmas countdown doesn’t have to mean mentally and emotionally preparing yourself for the shopping gauntlet. More and more people are doing their Christmas shopping online.

For CEO of Loot.co.za, Gary Hadfield, it’s not just Christmas carols that mark the start of the festive season, but also an increase in pre-orders and sales across all categories on the website.

With the increase in internet penetration in Africa, and the increased use of smart phones in South Africa, an increase in ecommerce seems a natural corollary of these trends. Loot.co.za statistics show that approximately 10 percent of visitors access the site via mobile devices (which includes tablets), while 90% use PCs.

A quick comparison of last year’s Christmas shopping statistics to sales thus far on Loot.co.za shows promising growth for the 2012 festive season.

Hadfield says: “We have seen over a 40% rise in online shoppers on Loot.co.za for the initial part of the Christmas trading period.”

Top Christmas gift predictions for 2012

“If people are stuck for gift ideas, all they need do is look at the top five products flying off our virtual shelves,” says Hadfield.
In terms of technology, while Samsung tablets and iPads are always popular, entry level tablets like the MSI Enjoy 7 Plus are top sellers and are very popular gifts for children.

The most popular DVD is The Dark Knight Rises, and the top-selling CD is the Breaking Dawn: Part Two Original Soundtrack.

Books are always the most popular category on Loot.co.za, and leading the sales in that category is Adriaan Basson’s political read, Zuma Exposed.

One of the more unusual top sellers on Loot.co.za is the Bburago diecast model of the Lamborghini Reventon – a model car that looks and functions exactly like its life-size counterpart, with opening doors, folding bucket seats, a detailed dashboard and precision engine.

Hadfield – former CEO of Kalahari.com – has seen a steady rise in online shopping in South Africa, and he believes that this festive season will be no different.

“People are getting busier,” says Hadfield. “Who has time to take a long lunch to trawl the shops for Christmas gifts? More and more people are choosing the convenience of online shopping – it’s safe, easy, takes a fraction of the time and the options are endless. There are few things you can’t buy online these days.”

A growing trust in online shopping amongst notoriously conservative South African internet users is resulting in an increasing shift in shopping activity, from the physical to the bright and shiny virtual space that is the internet.

What’s on your Christmas wish list? Visit www.loot.co.za and compile it.

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Far from the madding crowd: Forget shopping malls, do your Christmas shopping online