E-Commerce in Africa

Written by: Eldina Ekef

Written by: Eldina Ekef

E-commerce! When you hear this word perhaps the first brand that pops up in your head is Amazon. You might also thin eBay, Alibaba and a host of others.

You are right to hold these brands in high esteem, as they tested and trusted names that have proven themselves and provided value over time.

This article would be focusing on e-commerce in a different region of the world-Africa. As technology continues to advance and innovation being the key to growth, African businesses have tapped into the world of e-commerce and they are blooming and making progress.

Let’s discuss some of these e-commerce sites and see how relevant they have been.

African E-commerce Stores

This is a list of some of the noteworthy African e-commerce brands. The top on this list is:

  • Jumia: This online market store is the largest in Africa. It is a pan-Africa store, bringing products and sales from different African countries such Nigeria, Morocco, Tunisia, Kenya and more countries. This e-store has over 23 million site visits each month. Little wonder it is referred to as the “Amazon of Africa”. Continues expansion of Jumia across borders keeps it relevant and trusted. Nigeria is its largest market, as about 31% of its sales influx is from Nigeria, with customers purchasing a variety of items ranging from Electronic gadgets, phones, accessories, fashion items for all gender and age, groceries and other homewares. Jumia is not just an online store, it has expanded to providing services, even before the onset of the pandemic, home delivery of purchased products was a major feature of the store. With the onset of the pandemic, the use of this service has spiked, leading to other branches of the company, such as Jumia food (deals with food delivery), Jumia International, travel and payment services. An interesting but probable reason for their large client base is Jumia’s incorporation of “Black Friday” sales events, “Jumia prime” (free shipping option), business purchase membership and direct products purchase from abroad. At the grassroots level, Jumia strives to provide satisfaction for its ever-growing customer base by siting various pick-up locations at popular places in different cities, some cities have more that two pick-up locations. Catch a glimpse of the store here.
  • Takealot.com: With over 2000 employees, takealot.com is the chief e-commerce distributor in South Africa, and one of the largest in Africa. It’s based in Cape Town, South Africa, being the first local e-store to participate in Black Friday. It has about 1.8 million shoppers and over 10 million visits every month. Like other e-commerce stores, it branches to other forms of commerce as it owns a South-African Retail Fashion Store “Superbalist” and Food delivery dispatch service “Mr. D Foods”. This South-African e-commerce giant keeps expanding as its marketplace sales increase every year. Feel free to see this store here.
  • Souq: Originally founded as an “eBay-style” shop, it transformed into an “Amazon-style” shop and became the lead e-store in the Arab world, becoming prominent in Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates and Egypt. Although it was acquired by Amazon in 2017 and rebranded in Saudi Arabia and the UAE, Egypt retains the name Souq and still exercises its seller registration rights. Souq Egypt deals in a variety of products, from electronics, fashion items, groceries, books and more just like every other store. They also have features like “Fulfilled by Souq” which is identical to Amazon FBA, and like the Black Friday event, they have “White Friday” and all its perks. Would you like to know more about Souq? Visit their site.
  • Konga: This is a Nigerian owned e-store. It is the “largest Nigerian online mall” and just like every general e-store, they retail a variety of products: electronic gadgets, fashion and household items, beauty products and so much more. Aside from Jumia, which has the number 1 place in the heart of Nigerian e-Shoppers, Konga is second to none. From the beauty of their website to their optimized range of services, customer satisfaction is their utmost priority. Konga’s inclusion of the lowest product price guarantee, a 7-day free return scheme and order-delivery tracking option, are great ways to put their customers at ease and shop with confidence. Intending to provide seamless and convenient service, Konga has other businesses like konga travels & tours, KXpress, KongaPay, Konga Health and Konga Food. You might want to check out this beautiful site here.
  • Bidorbuy: Although established in 1999, bidorbuy has grown to be a leading e-store in South Africa. It has seen growth and development both in the customer base and also the range of products they offer their customers. Unlike other e-commerce stores, this marketplace sells products in a fixed price format or buyers can auction for an item, good thinking, yes? This online marketplace has a high influx of sellers, due to its successful marketing and advertising campaigns that expose products in the store to a larger audience. Bidorbuy is purely a marketplace, not a retailer, so the sellers on the site are entrepreneurs or large online sellers. They are safe and confident in this market space as Bidorbuy has a compact buyer protection scheme. Have a look here at this South African indefinite e-store.
  • Kilimall: This e-store was founded in 2014, it’s named after the popular Kilimanjaro Mountain and it is located in Nairobi, Kenya.
    Like other e-commerce sites, it sells a variety of products, at an affordable rate. 81% of its customer influx is from Kenya while 14% of traffic comes from China. This online store continues to grow and like other stores, it has businesses such as Lipapay, KillExpress, aimed at creating a smooth and satisfactory customer experience.

These listed e-commerce stores are not the only businesses in Africa, but these are the big
ones that are well known. There are others such as jiji.com, Zando, Mall for Africa and a host
of others, including the upcoming online shops yet to break into the economy.

When people think of Africa, some have a skewed conception of what its commerce system is
like. True African e-commerce in comparison to Amazon, Alibaba and the likes is like a growing
child. E-commerce in Africa continues to thrive, most of the known brands have stood the test of
time and continue to break through the barriers by going international.

So, why not take out the time to visit these shops, who knows, you might just find that African
product that you have been looking for. Buy and experience e-shopping the “African way”.

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