A Mastercard study on consumer spending has revealed that nearly four out of five, translating to 79 per cent of consumers in Kenya, shop more online since the onset of the COVID 19 pandemic.
Data, apparel, healthcare, banking, and other fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) have seen the highest surge of online activity. An overwhelming 92 per cent of consumers in Kenya said they had paid for data top-ups online, 67 per cent for clothing, and over 56 per cent said they had bought computers and other equipment.
And, with fewer opportunities to browse in the mall or on the high-street, social media has emerged as the main platform for finding the most attractive products and offers, with 78 per cent and 56 per cent of respondents saying they had discovered new sellers through Facebook and Instagram respectively. 80 per cent of typical in-store bargain hunters said they spend hours searching different sites to find the best deals.
When it comes to paying for goods or services online, speed is a key factor for shoppers in Kenya, with 84 per cent quoting this as a major consideration when choosing a business to buy from.
The Rise of Virtual Experiences
While adapting to the ‘next normal’, people have been changing the way they consume entertainment and learn new skills. In fact, 86 per cent of Kenyan consumers said they were using the downtime as a positive learning experience. 71 per cent of the respondents said they had taken a virtual cooking class, 30 per cent have been mastering a new language and 43 per cent have been learning to dance online.
51 per cent of respondents have been educating themselves on Do-It-Yourself (DIY) projects, and just over a third (38 per cent) said they have been taking make-up tutorials online.
It is clear from the research that shoppers are rapidly moving away from more traditional forms of retail and opting for contact-free and digital transactions. This, in turn, is presenting e-tailers and businesses in Kenya, and across the region, with new challenges on how to best leverage the shift towards online shopping and deliver fast, convenient, and secure transactions.
“In this post-COVID world, we are seeing an undisputable transformation in the way everyday transactions are being conducted. As people increasingly lean on e-commerce for their shopping, businesses that will remain relevant must ensure their customers continue to enjoy a safe, convenient and secure experience when shopping with them. At Mastercard, we are leveraging our network, insights, technology, and partnerships with fintech, banks, and other key players across Kenya to support businesses as they make the most of this new reality and optimise to thrive”, said Kari Tukur, Vice President, Products, Sub Saharan Africa, Mastercard.
Securing New Shopping Habits
With the rapid rise in online shopping, consumers are also becoming increasingly aware of the associated risks. And, with 77 per cent of consumers now managing their banking needs online, 68 per cent have said that a secure checkout was fundamental for a good shopping experience.
This is a key priority for Mastercard, as it is working to reduce online fraud and protect retailers from data breaches while ensuring that consumers still enjoy a convenient and hassle-free payment experience.
To advance these efforts, Mastercard recently rolled out its patented tokenisation technology across the region. Tokenization encrypts consumer data by replacing card numbers with digital tokens.
It prevents improper usage at any other location and provides additional security and peace of mind for consumers and merchants alike, resulting in higher approval rates while minimising online fraud.