Zimbabwe - Country Commercial Guide
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General Overview

E-commerce has not yet taken off in Zimbabwe because of a low internet penetration (around 42 percent) and a low diffusion of the culture of online purchasing in the country.  The lockdowns caused by COVID-19 forced most people to buy things online.  Nevertheless, the e-commerce that exists is local and limited to urban areas with hardly any cross-border transactions.  According to a study by a local online shop, 90 percent of e-commerce transactions on its platforms are made from the cities of Harare and Bulawayo.  There are some social media shops in the country, mainly on Facebook and Instagram, which report that two-thirds of buyers are men in the 35-44 age group.

Total revenue in the eCommerce market is projected at $216 million in 2023 with a user penetration ratio of about 27 percent.  With an expected compound average growth rate of 17 percent between 2023 and 2027, Statista forecasts market volume to reach $401 million by 2027 with an estimated average annual revenue per user of around $49.  Total revenue from eCommerce is projected to be dominated by electronics followed by beauty, health, personal and household care products in 2023. 

Due to years of cash shortages, electronic payments via debit cards and mobile applications have become common, with Zimbabweans conducting 96 percent of their commercial transactions via mobile phone.   

Consumer Behavior

eCommerce is limited to urban centers, with much of it taking place on social media platforms, such as WhatsApp, using cash on delivery or mobile payments rather than credit card transactions on traditional websites.