The Rise of eCommerce in Africa
The Rise of eCommerce in Africa
Africa is a massive continent encompassing dozens of countries in various states of development and a much deeper dive would be necessary when it comes to market selection and ecommerce.

The Rise of eCommerce in Africa

Mobile-Driven Africa

The logic of growth on this area is pretty much based on technology jumps that do occur within Africa because of historically missing economic infrastructure, such as banks, telecom landlines, etc. Africa is forecast to surpass half a billion ecommerce users by 2025, which will have shown a steady 17% compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of online consumers for the market.

Africa’s ecommerce users are forecast to surpass half a billion by 2025 with 40% penetration rate
eCommerce penetration to reach 40 percent by 2025.

Africa leads mobile device web traffic generation, with 69% of its total web traffic consisting of mobile internet users as of 2021 and is forecast to be almost exclusively mobile-based market by 2040.

Africa ecommerce to become almost exclusively mobile-based by 2040
Estimated mobile internet and total internet penetration fate in Africa from 2010 to 2040.

Compared to other regions, as of 2021 the African continent leads mobile internet usage a full 13% above the global average, and almost 5% more mobile usage than Asian region markets. This should indicate a “mobile-first” approach to any business looking to sell online to  the various African markets.

Mobile internet traffic as a percentage of total web traffic August 2021 by world region
Mobile internet traffic as a percentage of total web traffic in August 2021, by region

Challenges of eCommerce Markets in Africa

African nations collectively are still behind global consumer banking habit averages, with almost half of the adults not in possession of any formal bank account preferring to pay in cash. Debit card payment methods makes for 10% penetration of the population, while credit card ownership rates are low with an average 2% for the entire continent. Therefore online payments remains a perennial challenge for businesses wishing to target ecommerce consumers in the African Markets.

Distribution of online payment methods in selected African countries 2021
Distribution of payment methods in selected African markets 2021. Cash remains the most popular payment method, with mobile payments growing.

Kenya leads the African continent with 88% of its population having bank accounts, followed by the nation of South Africa at 82%, Nigeria at 51%, Morocco at 42%, and Egypt at 38% of its population engaged with banking products.

Estimated bank account penetration in Africa as of 2021
Estimated bank account penetration in select countries in Africa as of 2021

The lack of multinational marketplace presence is another main challenge to adjust to, as local online marketplaces and online retailers that sell and ship regionally are favored by consumers across Africa’s ecommerce landscape.

Number of online marketplaces in Africa as of 2019, by country
Number of online marketplaces in Africa 2019 by country. There is many local online marketplaces within each the African market countries, with many crossing over national borders

African Online Consumer Preferences

Revenues for online sales of grocery and personal care products continues to grow and is forecast to continue steady growth through 2025.

eCommerce revenues of food and personal care segments in Africa 2017 to 2025
eCommerce revenues of the food and personal care segments from 2017 to 2025 (in million USD)

Fashion and electronics products create the highest sales revenues among online shoppers in African markets, with fashion products predicted to reach $13.4 billion USD in sales and electronics predicted to reach #11.2 billion USD in annual sales by 2025.

eCommerce revenues in Africa 2021 and 2025 in billion USD
eCommerce revenues by sector in Africa in 2021 and 2025 in billions USD

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