Mailpac sees sharp increase in number of Jamaicans shopping online
Executive Chairman of Mailpac Group Limited, Khary Robinson said there has been a sharp increase in the number of Jamaicans shopping online, with Black Friday and the upcoming Christmas season gearing up to be the busiest for the delivery company.
Robinson said the increase in business is being driven by several factors including the improved state of the economy, and an increasing number of Jamaicans making purchases from overseas, as they move away from the traditional brick-and-mortar retailers.
Robinson, during an interview with Loop News, described Black Friday as the beginning of the busy Christmas shopping season.
He said just like inside brick-and-mortar establishments, online businesses also offer sales with varying levels of discounts to attract customers.
The executive chairman noted that in prior years, the discounts were offered beginning on Black Friday; however, these now commence around mid-November “and carry right into the Christmas shopping where people are buying gifts or items for themselves or even things just to prepare for the Christmas season”.
Mailpac Executive Chairman Khary Robinson
“So we see a significant uptick in shopping. In our (Mailpac) case we’ve seen where both our existing customer base is shopping in multiples of what they would normally do throughout the year but more importantly, we’re seeing a huge base of new customers coming into the market.
“We register that through registration, people that come to our platform and register to shop online,” Robinson disclosed, adding that “Already this year, we are seeing where that is three-fold what it was last year”.
Robinson said every year there is an uptick in business in the last quarter, “simply because more people shop for Black Friday and then into the Christmas shopping season so that’s a typical thing that we see every year”.
“But what I will say is the growth at which we were seeing it is more this year than ever before, and we figure there are two factors for that: first is the state of the economy, people’s asset values are rising, some people are feeling more financially comfortable and so they are able to spend more disposable income because their net worth has gone up.
“The second factor is that more people are shifting towards online shopping so what we see in our industry is every year those people who would have gone to the plaza and shop in brick and mortar stores in Jamaica are now discovering the benefits of online shopping and are shifting some of their spending, if not all of their spending to buying things online”.
The delivery company operates from two platforms – Mailpac and Mailpac Local.
Robinson said there are three main reasons why people do this; “It’s because it’s cheaper, it’s also more convenient because you can shop from your house, office or wherever without having to drive anywhere and park and stand in line and so on, and then they get more options. For example, if you want a certain phone, maybe in Jamaica it’s only available in black but online you can get it in red and blue and yellow etc. So people are discovering the benefits of online shopping and more and more people are going that route”.
The delivery company operates from two platforms – Mailpac and Mailpac Local. Robinson explained that Mailpac allows people to buy things online from international suppliers in the United States while Mailpac Local allows people to buy things from people in Jamaica like PriceSmart or Hi-Lo Food Stores.
While he has seen growth in both businesses, Robinson said: “the major growth and the lion’s share of the shopping is happening with people buying things abroad”.