Keep an Eye on Shifts in Consumer Behaviour

The signs were always there that the inevitable would happen, but Covid-19 was the disrupter that changed consumers’ buying habits.

To minimise the risk of the pandemic spreading, consumers were forced to change the way they shopped.

It was no longer possible to go down the road to a local store or shopping mall.

A new shopping option emerged.

People swiftly learned that by connecting to the net it was possible and even more convenient to buy their daily needs online.
Shopping for goods and services online soon became the new norm and gradually expanded to include clothing, footwear, home appliances and entertainment products.

As empirical evidence reflects, not only have consumer shopping habits changed globally, but the changes are likely to expand and become a permanent way of shopping for many.

Online shopping is not as popular in Namibia as it is in larger and more developed economies, but entrepreneurs should keep an eye on market trends.

During a recent stay in Cape Town, the number of supermarket-branded delivery motorcycles on the roads was markedly higher than I have ever seen.

That was during working hours, replaced in the early evening by fast-food delivery motorcycles.

In last week’s edition of BBC World Business Report, a marketing expert said there will always be a need for clothing and furniture retailers, health, cosmetics and beauty product stores.

However, in the interviewees’ opinion these stores will become mere showrooms, as more shoppers go online in search of attractive deals, discounts and specials.

Using the annual reports of clothing retail chains listed on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange, one can already observe the change in consumer purchasing behaviour from the revenue split indicator, with the needle shifting in favour of online shopping.

Check out their websites and you will see that furniture and home appliance retailers are investing millions of dollars in expanding their online catalogues and shopping platforms.

No sector is spared and enterprises who are unable to adapt will not remain competitive.

In a recent edition of Financial Mail it was reported that printed books are still outselling e-books in Japan, certain European countries and the United States, but the statistics reflect a different picture in China – the world’s second-largest economy.

A global survey by Statista revealed that the market penetration of e-books in China was higher in 2023 than that of printed books.

By the firm’s own admission, the leading satellite television service provider in sub-Saharan Africa is in trouble due to the loss of market to film and music streaming services.

There are even fewer property agents and travel agencies around – another consumer buying change.

Namibia’s entrepreneurs must understand the changes in consumer behaviour are inevitable and adapt how they market, distribute and provide products or services.

The failure to do so would result in the loss of market share and eventually business failure.

  • Danny Meyer is reachable at

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