“Online Shopping with Touchscreen Ultrabo” (CC BY 2.0) by IntelFreePress


South Africans have had to adapt to a new way of living in 2018. Fuel prices are constantly rising, and the VAT increase has not made it any easier.

This is why more people are considering the option of purchasing their groceries online instead of driving to and from the store.

What is the difference between in-store and online shopping?

The view is that by avoiding the trip to and from the store, one would save petrol and possibly get the items a little cheaper.

However, this is not entirely true. If anything, it appears that there is little to no price difference in food items sold online. Even if there is, it is more so on the food prices sold online.

Online shopping in South Africa

Online shopping is still in its infancy in South Africa. This is not to say that it is not a stable market, as many South Africans rely on this form of shopping to purchase electronics, clothing and other technical goods.

In-store vs online grocery shopping

BusinessTech recently did a study on the cost of grocery shopping in-store vs online. Two baskets were filled with food items, one from an actual store and the other from the online cart.

Both baskets had the same food items and the stores that were observed was Pick n Pay and Woolworths.

At Pick n Pay, it was found that there was little to no difference in the total cost of the food items.

Source: BusinessTech

Instead, it came out to be more expensive since, when food items are purchased online, there are delivery fees that are factored into the cost.

The same could be said about the baskets from Woolworths. The items purchased in-store came out to be a little cheaper than those bought online. It also became a lot more expensive online because of the delivery fee.

Source: BusinessTech

At Pick n Pay, the price difference came up to R1.50. Items sold at the store were a bit cheaper than online prices but the difference is almost negligible.
The same could be said about Woolworths, where the price difference totalled R3.03.

Source: BusinessTech

The study shows that there may be no way to avoid burning some petrol to go shopping. Also, it proves that people lean towards the option of grocery shopping online out of convenience more than anything, as it is the more expensive option.

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