Spree.co.za, which falls within Naspers’ e-commerce division, has reported a 170% year on year growth in visits to the site, and 250% growth in sales.
The site launched in 2013, having evolved from the online shop of Naspers’ magazine title, Sarie.com.
Naspers, the listed internet and media company, is facing stiff competition in the e-commerce space, after Takealot.com said last month that it aims to knock Naspers owned, Kalahari.com, off its perch within the next 12 months.
Takealot.com said it has raised $100 million (just over R1 billion) in funding from its major shareholder.
Spree, which operates primarily in the apparel space, said that it recently added two new categories – men’s wear and beauty.
It has plans to expand its current ranges to include on-trend fashion in sizes 14+ while also focusing on expanding its kids and tweens ranges and bringing well known international brands on board.
GM of Spree, Louna Lohann headed up Media24’s first apparel e-commerce venture, the Sarie.com shop, two years ago.
Lohann said that Spree experienced a positive fiscal year by exceeding their targets in the first year of trading. “From our first three months of trading to date, we have achieved 170% year on year growth in visits to spree.co.za, and a 250% growth in sales,” she said.
“We’ve expanded our offering, launched new categories and vastly increased the quantity of items available in our store. Spree launched with ladies fashion and quickly expanded to include kids and babies, home décor and gifts, and more recently, beauty and menswear,” Lohann added.
Spree has also grown its staff complement substantially during the first year and has added additional software developers, buyers, planners, content producers, logistic managers and call centre agents to the team.
Lohann pointed to a recent MasterCard Worldwide Online Shopping Survey, which revealed that 12% of online shoppers in South Africa make purchases on their mobile devices, while stats released in the Effective Measures South African eCommerce Report 2014 revealed that 23% of shoppers make purchases via mobile.
“This increase in mobile shopping behaviour means we will be actively optimising our mobile and tablet offering as a part of our growth plans to ensure we are well positioned to accommodate demand and provide a positive e-tail experience to those growing users on mobile.” Lohann said.
In February, MIH Internet Africa (MIHIA), the Internet arm of Naspers in Africa, confirmed that it would close “some small businesses which are no longer core”, namely Style36, 5Rooms, Kinderelo, SA Camera and 5Ounces.
Naspers said it would focus specifically on its general e-tail businesses such as Kalahari. “This decision is based purely on a shift in strategy and was not performance related,” it said at the time.
The group stressed that this process is limited to the MIHIA group and did not affect other Naspers subsidiaries with e-commerce investments in Africa, such as Media24, which continues to focus on fashion e-commerce.
“Media24 will continue to leverage its magazine titles to drive e-commerce activity, especially through fast-growing fashion vertical Spree, and is planning to expand substantially in this area,” Naspers said.