E-commerce in Africa - statistics & facts

African online retail has been growing fast in recent years and this trend is forecasted 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.

Africa's most competitive markets

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 Konga. South Africa is home to takealot.com, 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 third to Souq in Egypt. Souq.com is an Amazon company and the largest e-commerce platform in Arab-speaking countries. Meanwhile, in South Africa, the South African e-commerce platform is the most popular fashion shopping app.

Payment methods and the mobile money revolution

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.

What African digital shoppers buy

Other characteristics which define online shopping in specific markets are consumer preferences on what to buy online. A survey was conducted by Statista 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. 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 57 percent of internet users in Egypt purchased something online. In South Africa, the share of digital buyers is around 58 percent. The worldwide share is 77 percent.

Key figures

The most important key figures provide you with a compact summary of the topic of "E-commerce in Africa" and take you straight to the corresponding statistics.

Spending and revenue

Main players

Shopping apps

Shopping behavior

Interesting statistics

In the following 7 chapters, you will quickly find the 41 most important statistics relating to "E-commerce in Africa".

E-commerce in Africa

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E-commerce in Africa - statistics & facts

African online retail has been growing fast in recent years and this trend is forecasted 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.

Africa's most competitive markets

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 Konga. South Africa is home to takealot.com, 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 third to Souq in Egypt. Souq.com is an Amazon company and the largest e-commerce platform in Arab-speaking countries. Meanwhile, in South Africa, the South African e-commerce platform is the most popular fashion shopping app.

Payment methods and the mobile money revolution

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.

What African digital shoppers buy

Other characteristics which define online shopping in specific markets are consumer preferences on what to buy online. A survey was conducted by Statista 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. 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 57 percent of internet users in Egypt purchased something online. In South Africa, the share of digital buyers is around 58 percent. The worldwide share is 77 percent.

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