By Siyanda Makhubo
While we’ve already seen digital transformation to an extent, we need to have forward-thinking discussions about what this means in the African context which faces a unique set of challenges. The Jumia Tech Week annually seeks to highlight these very challenges, and raise awareness of how a post pandemic Africa may look like in the digital space. During this week, customers are able to shop for their favorite items from clothing, groceries to electronic gadgets and phones at highly discounted prices, the latter signaling that such items are fast becoming a necessity for the post pandemic world. The week will also attract new customers to the platform, and ultimately to e-commerce. This is an important factor, particularly as cash-strapped customers will be looking for discounts and deals on everything from DIY tools and household products to affordable Easter/Ramadan gifts.
The demand for e-commerce sales and bargains will naturally be fuelled by the unwillingness to stand in long queues at physical shops and deal with the many social distancing and Covid-19 safety regulations that are still in place along with the lingering health risks of social contact.
With this in mind, what lessons can be gleaned from the initial e-commerce “experiment” of lockdown; and similarly, how can retailers be prepared for a surge in demand for compelling e-commerce experiences and offers?
In October 2021, Jumia, published its first Africa e-commerce report which illustrated that many consumers were shifting to shopping online as a direct result of the Covid-19 pandemic that has limited social interactions.
This shift, according to the report, is part of a broader economic transformation led by the continent’s young, urban and tech-savvy population.
The report was compiled in partnership with UNCTAD, IFC, and Mastercard, to highlight the impact of e-commerce on the African economy.
While the COVID-19 pandemic led to meaningful supply and logistics disruption, it supported demand for everyday product categories, fast-moving consumer goods and personal care categories in particular, which experienced strong growth on the Jumia platform at the onset of the pandemic.
According to a report published by statista, as of January 2021, the countries in Northern and Southern Africa had the largest share of social media users in Africa.
In Northern Africa, 45 percent of the population used social media, while in Southern Africa this figure stood at 41 percent. In Central Africa, only eight percent of the people used social media, the lowest rate across Africa, the lowest regional share worldwide.
GSMA reports that by the end of 2020, 495 million people subscribed to mobile services in Africa, representing 46% of the region’s population – an increase of almost 20 million in 2019. With more than 40% of the region’s population under the age of 15, young consumers owning a mobile phone for the first time will remain the primary source of growth for the foreseeable future.
This data is important because it illustrates that Africa is a fertile market for e-commerce to thrive even through the covid-19 pandemic.
Siyanda Makhubo writes for the Jumia Group, as is the PR and Communications Manager.
Jumia is a leading e-commerce platform in Africa. It is built around a marketplace, Jumia Logistics, and JumiaPay. The marketplace helps millions of consumers and sellers to connect and transact.
Jumia Logistics enables the delivery of millions of packages through our network of local partners. JumiaPay facilitates the payments of online transactions for Jumia’s ecosystem.
With over 1 billion people and 500 million internet users in Africa, Jumia believes that e-commerce is making people’s lives easier by helping them shop and pay for millions of products at the best prices wherever they live.
E-commerce is also creating new opportunities for SMEs to grow, and job opportunities for a new generation to thrive.
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