Appraising the Holiday Sales

While on Christmas day itself was by far the quietest shopping day of the year, British online sellers managed to attract more consumers by starting the post-holiday discounts season on December 25th

(9 January 2009) In December 2008, the total value of sales concluded on, South Africa's largest online auction site and marketplace, reached R17.4 million, says bidorbuy director Andy Higgins.

While this figure is somewhat lower than the turnover recorded during the months immediately preceding December, it represents an increase of 92 percent when compared with the same period last year. In December 2007, South Africans spent R9.1 million shopping on bidorbuy. The biggest increase was seen in the gaming category, for both the gaming hardware and software. The sales of electronics, gemstones and jewellery were also strong, with art, somewhat surprisingly, making noticeable headway.

This growth is even more impressive when placed in the international context. In the USA, for example, overall ecommerce sales fell by three percent this holiday season in comparison with Christmas 2007, the first drop since 2001. The holiday sales information for South African online retailers is still to be released. Higgins expects the final figures for online local retailers to be much rosier than those in more mature markets: "Only about half a percent of South African consumers shop online. Therefore, we have much more room for growth", he says.

Traditionally, December is the quietest month for bidorbuy. In part, this is simply because that is when many sellers and buyers take a holiday from transacting on the site. Besides, as Higgins says, most consumers in South Africa still access the Internet from their place of work, and most companies close several days before Christmas, to re-open only in the New Year.

Higgins points out that, while Christmas day is by far the least busy day of the year for bidorbuy, in the UK the 25th December is one of the busiest online shopping days: "British online sellers decided to start their post-Christmas discounted sales on Christmas day, apparently with great success", he says.

The director of bidorbuy says that the pervading shortage of cash may also influence the total value of the transactions, because more buyers are setting their sights on cheaper merchandise. However, he does not expect the general economic gloom to adversely affect this online marketplace: "Recession is when people come to bidorbuy more than ever: buyers come looking for bargains, and sellers come to supplement their income."

These days, bidorbuy expects to be swamped by unwanted Christmas gifts as sellers rush to exchange them for cash. The buyers will follow, eager to acquire practically new items at a fraction of their retail price. The first signs are already visible, says Higgins. Only 24 hours after the first back-to-work week opened on Monday January 5, more than 800 new users joined the bidorbuy community. Almost 4,000 new listings were added in the same period, with the number of the items for sale rising to about 129,500, which is an absolute record on bidorbuy.

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.