Takealot moves to the next level – crushing Amazon in South Africa

 ·30 May 2024

After Amazon South Africa’s launch, Takealot moved to the next level, and the latest Google Trends data shows that Takealot is winning the war.

Amazon South Africa opened its marketplace on 7 May 2024, offering local shoppers a wide range of products and shipping options.

Amazon has partnered with Pargo and The Courier Guy to serve its local delivery and logistics needs. Shoppers have the option of door-to-door delivery or pickup points.

The eCommerce giant added a sweetener to new clients by offering free delivery on their first purchase.

Amazon did not start its race from a standing start. It has a strong following in South Africa – many people use its United States website.

Discovery Bank’s SpendTrend24 report showed Amazon’s US website is the third most visited eCommerce platform in South Africa.

There was great excitement when Amazon launched in South Africa. However, it was more whimper than bang.

At this stage, Amazon does not offer South Africans much they cannot get at Takealot. On many products, it is much cheaper to buy and import them from Amazon’s US site.

Takealot was quick to make Amazon’s life even more difficult by launching aggressive specials and TakealotMORE, a new subscription service with great benefits.

Takealot shoppers can choose between the TakealotMORE Standard plan, which costs R39 per month, and the TakealotMORE Premium plan, which costs R99 per month.

The premium plan offers unlimited free standard and same-day delivery, collect options, and free delivery of Mr D’s orders from restaurants and shops.

Takealot Group CEO Frederik Zietsman said TakealotMORE are “revolutionising the online shopping experience and redefining convenience and value”.

Takealot, backed by Naspers, has deep pockets, and its quick moves following Amazon’s launch show it is ready for the fight.

Low-key launch by Amazon

Amazon’s low-key launch in South Africa should not come as a surprise. It has been predicted by many eCommerce experts.

Before the launch, Bob Group MD Andy Higgins said Amazon would start off smaller and more slowly than people expected. 

Higgins added that Amazon’s growth in South Africa would take longer than many expect. Establishing extensive online operations takes time.

“Expecting Amazon to come into South Africa and perform miracles from the get-go is misguided,” he said.

Higgins, one of Takealot’s co-founders, further highlighted that Amazon will struggle to beat Takealot in South Africa.

“I believe local skills and expertise will outperform international resources, which means it will be difficult for Amazon to beat Takealot,” he said.

He explained that the view of “local is lekker” will also help Takealot in the short to medium term.

“Amazon will need to find ways to adapt how they do things normally for the local market, which will be a challenge,” Higgins said. 

However, he warned that Amazon is a global eCommerce giant which should never be underestimated.

“What happens down the line will depend on Amazon’s ability to execute locally,”

“Maybe Amazon will end up buying a local logistics company. If that were to happen, it could potentially change the game.”

Google Trends insights

Google Trends data showed that Takealot has maintained its lead despite a spike caused by the hype when Amazon launched.

Google Trends provides access to a largely unfiltered sample of search requests made to Google. This data can be requested for a specific country.

It provides a window into what people are searching for and the trend of whether a company’s search activity is increasing or decreasing.

The chart below shows the Google Trends data over the last year for Takealot and Amazon in South Africa.

Read: The real winners of the Amazon vs Takealot battle in South Africa

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