Africa’s e-commerce on growth trajectory, boosted by tech-savvy young people
Edith Mokeira, a freelance writer, has enjoyed the convenience of shopping online for years, saying her strong affinity for shopping online developed during her college days when the digital revolution was taking shape in Kenya.
“I love to shop online, although it can be addictive. Over the years, I have always placed orders for my favorite shoes, clothes and other accessories on e-commerce platforms, ”confessed Mokeira, her virtual addiction to online shopping, thanks to the benefits that come with it like speed, convenience and usability compared to traditional retail stores.
She had just received brand new shoes ordered through Kilimall, one of Kenya’s leading online retail platforms, as the country’s digital youth embarked on frantic shopping ahead of Black Friday.
At the Kilimall warehouse on the outskirts of Nairobi, spirited bikers waiting their turn to deliver carefully packaged parcels to their customers admitted that the growth of e-commerce in Kenya had transformed their livelihoods.
Gabriel Owino, 45, a father of five and a seasoned delivery driver, said working as a contractor for Kilimall over the past five years has improved his financial situation.
“I have benefited from the growth of online business in the country as a biker. The delivery of packages has been financially rewarding. I am able to pay the household bills without too much difficulty, ”said Owino.
His young colleague, Alex Mutuku, 30 and a father of two, said he expected a bargain on Back Friday this year, as orders for parcel delivery to customers tripled.
According to Mutuku, his three-year stint as a delivery man broadened his understanding of e-commerce and the benefits it has generated for the local economy. “Online business has given me a day job and I am assured of a minimum monthly income of around 25,000 shillings (223 US dollars),” Mutuku said.
Kenya is ranked among the African e-commerce powers that also include Nigeria, South Africa and Morocco, thanks to higher internet penetration, favorable regulations and a stable macroeconomic environment.
The United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) in its report “The Impact of COVID-19 on Electronic Commerce in Africa” indicates that more than 294 million Africans have Internet connections while the growing possession of smartphones, the explosion of young people and rising middle class incomes have spurred the growth of online shopping.
Silas Musyoka, head of market operations at Kilimall, revealed that online sales increased at the start of the pandemic early last year amid lockdowns, adding that the trend could last longer.
“More and more people are buying products online. Many African countries are embracing e-commerce, supply chains are developing and I see specific countries emerging as leaders in this sector, ”said Musyoka, envisioning a better future for China-Africa cooperation in the economy. digital, claiming that it will help reorganize supply chains, promote smooth trading of high-quality products and create additional jobs for young people.
His optimism is solidly supported, as a report released in April by Visa Consulting and Analytics notes that Africa’s nascent e-commerce sector has shown enormous potential for growth.
According to the report titled “E-commerce Developments in Sub-Saharan Africa,” the region saw a 42% growth in online sales from 2019 to 2020, while restrictions related to the pandemic saw e-commerce users in sub-Saharan Africa increase by 5% in 2020, compared to 2019.
Pelita Wanyonyi, product manager at Tecno in Kenya, said the country’s e-commerce platforms including Kilimall and Jumia have offered customers convenient and cost-effective ways to acquire their favorite smartphones.
According to Wanyonyi, online platforms have improved the visibility of Chinese smartphones in Kenya and other strategic markets in Africa, in addition to benefiting consumers in terms of reduced prices and guaranteed quality.
“We get 50 percent of our sales from the online market, it’s doing very well,” Wanyonyi said.
Evans Kiprotich, an employee of Kilimall’s technical department, said online shopping that brings convenience and enjoyment has a bright future in Africa. He previously studied industrial engineering at Chinese Hunan University.
Kiprotich said he had gained extensive experience in e-commerce in China, where he was a frequent visitor to Chinese e-shopping platforms, such as Taobao and Pinduoduo, which enabled him to acquire clothes and clothing. trendy electronic devices. “E-commerce holds great promise in Africa as more and more people embrace online shopping,” he said.