Key Points:

  • South Africa has a population of approximately 60 million and an expected GDP of $345 billion by the end of 2022
  • Fashion and Toys, Hobby & DIY are the most popular categories in the country
  • South Africa has its own set of rules and regulations and customs duties

South Africa boasts a growing eCommerce market and sizeable population, making shipping to South Africa a great idea if you’re looking to go cross-border!

Before you start selling to South Africa, it’s important to know more about the country’s eCommerce market if you want to find success. To that end, here’s a closer look at some market insights, top marketplaces to consider selling on, import restrictions and prohibitions, and more!

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Strong eCommerce Revenue Growth

South Africa, located in the southern tip of Africa, boasts a growing population and economy. The country has a population of approximately 60 million and an estimated total GDP of about $345 billion by the end of 2022, making it an emerging player in the global economy. eCommerce has been actively promoted by the South African government, helping to boost its growth in recent years.

Per Statista, eCommerce growth in South Africa has been very promising, with an estimated annual revenue growth rate of about 17.81 percent. This means there should be a projected market volume of $13.83 billion by 2025.

These factors make shipping to South Africa a great decision for online merchants looking to expand cross-border to a market with a large population and robust eCommerce revenue growth.

Many countries, including South Africa, have their own eCommerce marketplaces that are trusted by sellers and buyers alike. A few to consider selling on in the country include:

  • Amazon
  • McAfee
  • BidorBuy
  • Alibaba
  • Apple
  • eBay
  • Woolworths

All of these platforms have their own advantages in terms of ease of use and traffic volume. Be sure to choose the right one based on factors such as your target market, type of items you want to sell, payment methods available, demographics, and the like.

Fashion and Toys, Hobby & DIY Are the Top Product Categories for Online Shopping

Fashion products are responsible for 32% of the eCommerce revenue in South Africa whilst Toys, Hobby and DIY make up 27%. These are the two top categories, however Electronics & Media are responsible for 18%, Furniture & Appliances make up 15% and Food & Personal Care make up the remaining 8%.

Cash on Delivery as the Top Payment Method

South Africans, unlike many eCommerce buyers worldwide, prefer cash on delivery payments as a top payment method. Credit and debit cards are also commonly used, as is PayPal.

Black Friday is a widely popular time to both buy and sell goods in South Africa. Winter sales in July and August are common, as are summer sales from December until February.

Christmas and Boxing Day are among the most popular holidays in South Africa for buying and selling as well.

Shipping to South Africa

Before you start shipping to South Africa from the U.S. and elsewhere in the world, it’s important to understand the country’s import regulations, customs duties, and available couriers. Here’s a quick look at just that!

South Africa Import Regulations

South Africa has its own set of rules and regulations and customs duties. There are a number of items that you can’t send at all to South Africa while other items you can send only after getting proper permission and documentation. You should also get complete information about tax and customs duties for specific products you intend to sell before you start shipping to South Africa.

Restricted items in South Africa:

  • Herbal products
  • Gold coins
  • Medicine
  • Animals
  • Excess currency

Prohibited items in South Africa:

  • Ammunition
  • Dry ice
  • Plants and seeds
  • Furs
  • Drugs and narcotics
  • Uncut diamonds

For a more exhaustive list, click here.

In addition, South Africa also imposes a VAT of 15 percent and a tax and duty threshold of 500 ZAR.

Import duties are all variable based on product category, with many products, such as mobile devices, tablets, computers, watches, jewelry, books, and games facing no import duties. Some categories, however, face very steep duties, such as fashion items, all of which face 45 percent import duties, and luggage, which also faces a hefty 30 percent import duty.

Be sure to check out the Easyship tax and duty calculator for full transparency when shipping to South Africa. Don’t get caught by surprise when shipping cross-border!

Many Couriers Available for Shipping to South Africa

Major couriers such as USPS, UPS, DHL, and FedEx offer reliable South Africa shipping services.

In addition, some of the popular local courier services to consider include:

  • Fastway Couriers
  • Door to Door Courier
  • Pargo
  • Dawn Wing Couriers
  • ACT Logistics

Always check out the Easyship shipping rates calculator to find the cheapest shipping to South Africa as well as the options that offer the fastest and best value solutions!  

South Africa: A Growing eCommerce Opportunity

South Africa offers a fast-growing eCommerce market and robust, Internet-savvy population, making it an ideal opportunity for growing your business cross-border in a thriving market.

Sign up for Easyship for free today to start shipping to South Africa and growing your business globally!