With local online spending now on an upward trend, the popular South African coalition loyalty programme, eBucks, is predicting strong online spending for the Christmas holiday period this year.
During the 2006 holiday season, eBucks' members redeemed a record R46 million worth of eBucks (approx. US$7 million). The two largest contributors to member spending were online shopping through the eBucks web site and in-store spending using eBucks cards at retail partners, and both have shown steady growth since then.
According to a recent report by World Wide Worx, the nation's online spending is expected to increase by more than 35% to R929 million by the end of 2007, compared to the R688 million spent in 2006.
In addition, because eBucks don't expire, many consumers save the eBucks they earn during the year and add their value to their disposable income during the festive season. "Traditionally the festive season is one of our biggest annual spend periods. Over the last few years we've seen considerable growth in online member spend with the eBucks shop, a trend we expect will continue this festive period," said Lezanne Human, CEO for eBucks.
eBucks follows retail trends
The programme operator's own economic modelling has shown that eBucks' redemption patterns tend to closely follow the retail sector's monetary spending patterns.
In line with the South African telecommunications market, eBucks now expects an increase in airtime sales through the programme, mainly because airtime is an attractive redemption opportunity for members with low eBucks balances. The company also predicts an increase in redemptions for vouchers and electronic goods through its online shop, and an increase in redemption through retail partners as members use their eBucks to extend their in-store buying power.
eBucks now claims a member base of over 1.2 million consumers, and has allocated more than R940 million worth of eBucks to its members in the past seven years. Members have an average spend-to-earn ratio of 78% (which exceeds the international benchmark of 70% for developed nations).
eBucks can be spent at the eBucks shop, on eBucks auctions, through the eBucks travel service, with eBucks' online partners, or at eBucks' various retail partners using an eBucks card at the time of payment.