2020 may be the year in which technology and the internet fundamentally change the way South Africans shop.For years, reports have predicted that online retail was on the cusp of claiming the traditional retail sector’s lunch.The rise of e-commerce players, including Amazon in the US and Naspers-backed Takealot in the local market, fed this narrative. Doomsayers said the days of brick and mortar stores were numbered.But even though Takealot alone topped R196m in sales on Black Friday in 2018, the sector was still in its infancy. It accounted for a mere 1.4% of total retail spending in 2019, according to Visa. Data from World Wide Worx suggests this small slice of the retail pie was worth about R14bn.Lockdowns, which have eroded so much value in the business sector and economy, may be the life-or-death push that retailers need to force them to expand their online presence. At the least, this could push online sales out of infancy into its toddler years.Travel restrictions and bans on...

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