March 05 ,2015 | by Hari Sri

Ecommerce will dominate African retail market, says report

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The African retail market will be dominated by e-commerce over the next few years, says report.

A recent report notes that online marketplaces could dominate the retail market in Africa within the next few years, according to reports.

Global consulting firm, Frost & Sullivan, estimated that the e-commerce market will be worth $50 billion in 2018, compared to its 2013 worth of around $8 billion. It’s no surprise then that these digital retailers are beginning to offer greater numbers of products and services to African consumers.

 

There are already a number of West Africa online commerce sites that are upping their profiles, hoping to capture a greater market share than their competitors. These include companies such as Junia, Kasoa, GoShop, OLX and Konga.com.

The rise of e-commerce has been aided by the growing number of internet users in Africa, where consumers have gained online access via cellular data, bypassing the need for a hardwire connection. As mobile networks have swept the nation, it means even the most rural and remote villages are able to use a phone to get online.

 

At the recent e-commerce Africa Confex in Cape Town, Google South Africa country director, Luke Mckend, shared stats that suggest searches from internet users in Africa are increasing.

"We see a story of growth," said Mckend. "Search is growing much faster than in mature internet economies."

Google saw a 37 per cent increase in the number of queries from users in South Africa, 49 per cent in Nigeria and 33 per cent in Kenya. Mr Mckend went on to highlight that a large proportion of these queries were searches for purchases, which suggests that the market for online retailers is there - businesses just need to make use of it.

"We will be seeing countries in Africa getting connected to the internet that we have not seen before in the next year or two,” said Mr Mckend. “The next wave of innovation will come from tech we haven’t even seen yet."

 

It remains to be seen who will first take advantage of the huge potential African e-commerce represents, however, it seems certain that companies who fail to cultivate an online presence will likely find themselves outcompeted in the coming years.

Hari Sri

Hari is the LSBF Blog's News Editor. He manages the editorial content on the blog and writes about current affairs, SME, entrepreneurship, energy, education and emerging market news.

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