Original Research - Special Collection: Impact of COVID-19 on the transport and logistics management

Online shopping behaviour and service quality perceptions of young people in South Africa: A COVID-19 perspective

Gert J. Heyns, Peter J. Kilbourn
Journal of Transport and Supply Chain Management | Vol 16 | a777 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/jtscm.v16i0.777 | © 2022 Gert J. Heyns, Peter J. Kilbourn | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 31 March 2022 | Published: 31 August 2022

About the author(s)

Gert J. Heyns, Department of Transport and Supply Chain Management, College of Business and Economics, University of Johannesburg, Johannesburg, South Africa
Peter J. Kilbourn, Department of Transport and Supply Chain Management, College of Business and Economics, University of Johannesburg, Johannesburg, South Africa


Background: The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic had a significant impact on business operations and consumer behaviour across the world. The South African online retail environment also encountered different opportunities and last-mile logistics challenges. However, the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on online consumer behaviour has received limited attention. Furthermore, limited studies exist which have measured the online buying behaviour of young people, an important online market segment.

Objectives: The primary purpose of this study was to determine whether the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic significantly influenced the online shopping behaviour of young people and to provide online retailers and consumer behaviour theorists with a better appreciation of young consumers’ online purchasing needs, which will assist them in developing and effecting appropriate last-mile logistics strategies.

Methods: A quantitative research design was used, and empirical data were collected from two non-probability sampling surveys conducted in 2019 (before the COVID-19 pandemic) and in 2020 (during the COVID-19 pandemic) of 461 young people in the Johannesburg area. A self-administered online questionnaire was used to collect the research data.

Results: The results indicate that online shopping behaviour either did not change or increased because of the COVID-19 pandemic for most respondents. Young online consumers consider order fulfilment aspects to be more important than the tangible considerations of online retailers.

Conclusion: This research study provides a distinct perspective of young people’s perceptions of online shopping and makes a meaningful contribution by identifying the important fulfilment-related service quality expectations of young online customers in South Africa.


COVID-19; consumer behaviour; online shopping behaviour; young consumers; last-mile logistics; last-mile delivery; order fulfilment


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Crossref Citations

1. The power of sale promotions: Analyzing the impact of sales promotion offerings on consumer buying behavior in the pandemic
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