Before thinking about Africa with preconceived ideas about how things are done, it’s important to remember that we have an enormous and quickly growing population. Containing 54 countries, Africa is home to a variety of cultures, communities, and economies. All developing economies create ways to make their lives easier, and one of those ways is to embrace online shopping. Especially since Covid-19 lockdowns started and no one left their house to shop for months. Yearly revenue from the online retail industry in Africa is roughly $20 billion.
With such a young and expanding population, e-commerce in Africa has everything needed for growth and massive expansion throughout the continent.
With such a young and expanding population, e-commerce in Africa has everything needed for growth and massive expansion throughout the continent. We may not be on par with the United States, but we are catching up. We have made a list of the three biggest online marketplaces in Africa to help readers get up to speed with what’s happening. As most Africans interact with the internet via a mobile phone, businesses in the e-commerce sector must have good mobile apps that are easy to interact with.
Originally a Middle Eastern-owned company, Amazon bought Souq in 2017. While the appearance of both the UAE and Saudi Arabian websites are Amazon-branded, Souq has kept its name in Egypt. Souq was first set up as an auction site similar to eBay; however, once acquired by Amazon, they changed their business model to match their parent company. Using the fulfillment method to ship products for other businesses, Souq mirrors the Amazon model in many ways. While they do only service Egypt, the UAE, and Saudi Arabia, they attract a whopping 35 million visitors monthly.
With a respectable 23 million visits every month, this marketplace is active in Morocco, Tunisia, Kenya, Nigeria, and Egypt. Based in Germany, Jumia was started in 2012. They offer a variety of categories from food to toys and everything in between. Over 30% of monthly visitors live in Nigeria, while Côte d’Ivoire and the four remaining countries bring in more than a million visits every month. Widely known as Africa’s answer to Amazon, mirroring their Black Friday sales and a Prime shipping option. Jumia expanded its reach into Cameroon and Tanzania in the past before being forced to pull out due to political unrest.
This online retailer receives over 10 million monthly views, of which 96% come from Takealot’s home country, South Africa. Started in 2011, combined with Kalahari.com in 2015, and bought by Naspers in 2018, Takealot has gone through many changes. Sellers have to undergo a strict screening process and pay monthly fees to sell their products through Takealot. This marketplace offers delivery and pick-up at various points in South Africa. When trading through Takealot, there are two options: storing products in their warehouse so they can be sent instantly or storing products independently and handling shipping per order. Takealot has grown to include clothing store Superbalist and Mr. Delivery, a food order service similar to Uber Eats.