Sign of the Times

The top search terms on bidorbuy, once exclusively populated by status symbol type of goods, now include more practical keywords, like “cars”, “furniture”, or “TV”

(27 July 2009) The list of the top ten most searched-for keywords on South Africa’s largest online auction site and marketplace usually reads like an exemplary shopping list of a well-to-do consumerist. Week after week, the same keywords kept appearing: the latest techno-gadgets, the most sought-after watch brands; the most expensive gems. In short, judging by the most often searched words on bidorbuy, South African online shoppers were after the latest and the trendiest unnecessary toys any self-respecting consumer cannot live without.

The first crack in this rosy consumerist’s heaven appeared several weeks ago, with the emergence of “cars” at the very top of the “wanted” list. Previously, only the unmistakably status-symbol makes of cars had a chance to make it among the top ten. The search for plain, unadorned, no-make (so to speak) “cars” speaks clearly and loudly that South Africans are feeling the brunt of the economic recession. With public transport as it is (practically non-existent), a car is a must for a sizeable portion of South Africans.  Having a car can mean the difference between getting a job and not getting a job, or between keeping a job and not being able to keep a job. And when people who depend on their car in that way find themselves unable to meet repayments of the expensive vehicles acquired during the fat years – well, it is not a surprise that many are now looking for cheaper options that to get from spot A to spot B.

As if to confirm that the consumerist’s dream is deflating before our very eyes, the word “furniture” managed (only just!) to elbow its way among the top ten last week. And this week the term “TV” materialised in the respectable spot number eight of the most searched keywords on bidorbuy. Yes, that’s correct: just “TV”. Not LCD, not HD, not plasma, not wide screen. Just plain old TV.

While the total sales made by the traders on bidorbuy continue to rise, the keyword searches seem to indicate that there is a shift in the shopping patterns from latest gadgets to practical items. It looks like the economic recession is relegating the South African consumerist dream to the back shelf.

For the time being, at least.

About bidorbuy

bidorbuy is South Africa's largest online marketplace. Established in 1999, the company has created a safe and convenient way for people to buy and sell goods online. As a virtual trading place that brings buyers and sellers together and allows them to buy and sell virtually anything at a fixed price or in an exciting auction format, bidorbuy has created a thriving online marketplace.