A summary of eCommerce related information relating to South Africa. This information is from "Preparing Your Business for Global eCommerce" prepared by the U.S. Commercial Service for exporters.


Capital:    Pretoria Population: 51.7 million (2011)
GDP (USD): 350.63 billion (2013)
Currency:    South African rand (ZAR) Languages: English (business), others


Sanjay Harryparshad Commercial Specialist sanjay.harryparshad@trade.gov
+27 11 290 3120


Market Entry

Generally business to business (B2B) customers are also business to consumer customers, so relationships are generally the same. Both types of customers have become accustomed to performing consumer product research online. As a result, both are using either consumer websites or B2B versions of consumer websites to purchase products and services for their companies or in their capacity as   individuals.

Popular E-Commerce Sites

•    takealot.com
•    amazon.com
•    bidorbuy.co.za
•    groupon.co.za
•    ebay.com
•    game.co.za
•    computicket.com
•    mrp.com
•    zando.co.za
•    picknpay.co.za
•    clicks.co.za
•    edgars.co.za
•    spar.co.za
•    woolworths.co.za

Digital Advertising

Studies have shown the effectiveness of digital ads that appear on mobile devices. South Africa currently boasts a mobile penetration rate of 135 percent, and as data prices and smartphone prices continue to drop, this platform will be at the forefront of digital advertising. Other traditional methods include the use of company banners that appear on popular social media, news, and e-commerce  sites.

Current Market Trends

•    45 percent of online shoppers are in Gauteng, one of South Africa’s nine   provinces.
•    9.23 percent ofshoppers have household income of over ZAR 70,000 per   month
•    73.7 percent of shoppers use e-commerce to make payments, pay utility bills, and transfer money at least once a  week.

Online Payment

Credit cards, cash cards, bank transfers, and PayPal are all used in South Africa. Special online shopping credit cards are the most frequently  used.

Social Media

•    Facebook
•    Twitter
•    Tumblr
•    LinkedIn
•    Pinterest
•    Instagram
•    Flickr
•    Google+
•    Badoo

Cross-Border E-Commerce

The South African consumer market tends to trust international retailers more than local business and uses them much more  frequently.

Mobile E–Commerce

38.51 percent of South African consumers use their mobiles for online   purchases.

Current Demand


Books, airline tickets, hotel reservations, and event tickets are the service-related items most often purchased online.

Major Buying Holidays

Apart from the traditional holidays, such as Christmas and Valentine’s Day, there are none. Certain e-commerce sites run daily promotions to promote online  purchases.



While South African authorities are keen to enforce higher compliance with intellectual property rights (IPR) laws in keeping abreast of Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS), there are still concerns about copyright, piracy, and trademark counterfeiting. It is important to ensure that a business complies with all IPR legislation pertaining to the consumer market. The U.S. Commercial Service can provide more information and help with registering products and  trademarks.

Regulations and Initiatives

C.    ommerce is regulated in South Africa by the Consumer Affairs  Committee.
The committee sets out basic guidelines that require that suppliers (not users) of “cryptography” services or products register their names and addresses and the names of their products with a brief description in a register maintained by the Department of Communications. Unless the (local or foreign) supplier has registered, it cannot provide services or products in South  Africa.

Prohibited Products

•    Drugs
•    Pornographic material
•    Plants, seeds, bulbs, raw cotton
•    Furs
•    Unwrought gold
•    Uncut diamonds
•    Ammunition
•    Furniture
•    Honey/beeswax
•    Dry ice
•    Uncooked meat/poultry
•    Dangerous goods as defined by the International Air Transport Association

Prepared by the International Trade Administration. With its network of 108 offices across the United States and in more than 75 countries, the International Trade Administration of the U.S. Department of Commerce utilizes its global presence and international marketing expertise to help U.S. companies sell their products and services worldwide. Locate the trade specialist in the U.S. nearest you by visiting http://export.gov/usoffices.