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E-commerce in Africa - statistics & facts

African online retail has been growing fast in recent years. This trend is predicted to continue. Several factors are contributing to this impressive growth. Africa has the youngest and second largest population in the world. Thus, there is potential for a vast digital audience. In addition, internet penetration has been rising due to the broad expansion of smartphones and mobile devices in general. Indeed, mobile e-commerce dominates the online shopping scene. Various digital payments are becoming more widespread in African countries. This is certainly a key aspect for e-commerce. Credit cards are still quite uncommon. Alternative payment methods such as cash-on-delivery and mobile money are being used by digital buyers.

Particular attention should be paid to some of Africa's most competitive markets: Nigeria, South Africa, Kenya, Morocco, and Egypt. These are the five largest economies on the continent. In these markets, online retail is booming thanks to several leading companies which operate in many other African countries. e.g. Jumia, Konga, takealot, and Kilimall. Nigeria is the headquarters for the most popular online marketplace in Africa, Jumia, and for Konga. South Africa is home to, the largest e-commerce platform in the country, while Kilimall was founded in Kenya several years ago. Since mobile e-commerce plays an important role, a look at the most popular shopping apps can provide a better overview of the main players in these markets. Unsurprisingly, Jumia Online Shopping heads the rankings in Nigeria and Kenya, and is second to Souq in Egypt. is an Amazon company and the largest e-commerce platform in Arab-speaking countries. Meanwhile, in South Africa, the Chinese fast fashion brand SHEIN is the most popular fashion shopping app.

Some other aspects which help to understand e-commerce in Africa are payment methods. As mentioned before, the African landscape of digital payments is quite unique. Data on the transaction volume of selected digital payment platforms in Africa show that mobile money payments with M-Pesa were much more common than those made with African credit cards. Mostly unknown in advanced economies, mobile money represents a revolution in other markets, making financial services easily accessible throughout the country, including remote rural areas. Mobile money allows the customer to receive, store, and spend money using a mobile phone even without internet access. Another common payment method is cash-on-delivery, which means that users pay for their order on delivery. In economies with low credit card penetration and less trust in digital payments made in advance, cash-on-delivery became the most common payment method. For instance, on Jumia in Nigeria, almost 70 percent of registered payments were cash-on-delivery.

Other characteristics which define online shopping in specific markets are consumer preferences on what to buy online. A survey was conducted in several African countries, asking about items consumers in Nigeria, South Africa, Morocco, Kenya, and Egypt prefer to buy online. In all these countries, digital buyers stated to purchase clothing, shoes, and consumer electronics online. In Kenya, respondents also preferred to buy books, movies, music and games on the internet rather than in physical stores. However, despite the incredible growth, online shopping in Africa is still under the global average, even in Africa's driving markets. According to recent data, some 56 percent of internet users in Egypt purchased something online. In South Africa, the share of digital buyers is around 51 percent. The worldwide share is 74 percent.

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E-commerce in Africa

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Spending and revenue

Main players

Shopping apps

Shopping behavior


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