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Ask a random European about his associations with Africa. We guarantee you that most will answer “poverty, deserts, hunger, leaf shelters”. Stereotypes rule our opinions, unfortunately. Of course, this is the legacy of colonialism that Africa has been facing for decades. People are increasingly less likely to try to go beyond these commonly accepted patterns, and this is a critical error, especially in business. Today we will present to you the shocking (for many!) facts about African e-commerce. We will try to convince you why the eyes of the whole world should turn to the African market (as China has already done). The truth is that we are dealing with an African e-commerce boom, and the effects of this will come soon.

Facts about African e-commerce

First of all, according to Statista research, the size of the African e-commerce market in 2017 reached $16 billion. Moreover, it is expected to reach $22 billion by 2022. This is happening now, even though most of the world still associates Africa only with extreme poverty and hunger. Secondly, a report from the Boston Consulting Group claims that by 2025, the electronic network market will create about 3 million new jobs in Africa. 3 million! Can you believe it? It is no longer just about leaf shelters and poverty. We are dealing with a dynamically developing market, which can no longer be unnoticed by the rest of the world.

US$75 billion is the estimated value of African e-commerce in 2025. In fact, some experts say it is growing even more rapidly than expected. More and more international digital players tempted by rapid development and huge potential are coming to the African continent. The most famous names, such as Google and Facebook, have already announced their big investments in Africa in 2018. In fact, Google opened Africa’s first artificial intelligence lab in Ghana’s capital, Accra last year. Facebook has promised to train and improve the digital skills of 50,000 Africans.

There is one more important thing you need to know about African e-commerce market. Africa has the largest youth population in the world at the moment. According to some calculations up to 2025, 70% of Africa’s 1.2 billion population will be below 30 years old. What does it mean? Well, these numbers may be an unbelievable representation of young and tech-savvy people open for new technologies and foreign brands.

Current leaders of African e-commerce market

Three economies are definitely leading the way – Nigeria, Kenya and South Africa, all three also accounting for more than 50% of Africa’s Internet users. When it comes to the brands, at the head of African e-commerce we currently have 2 giants that dominate the African market.

One of them is Take-A-Lot. It is South Africa’s leading online store established in 2011. Currently, it has over 1 million active users. Also, there have been set up 47 express delivery points across the country to solve the problem of insufficient logistics capacity. Jumia is the second ruler in the African e-commerce market. It has been named the African Amazon, which in itself explains the power of this platform. It is an online marketplace for electronics and fashion. The platform was founded in Nigeria in 2012. At the moment, it has more than 80,000 suppliers and more than 4 million consumers. It covers more than 14 African countries and partners with more than 50,000 local African companies and individuals. Impressive, isn’t it?

Of course, African e-commerce is still facing a lot of changes and challenges related to, e.g. infrastructure, but one thing is certain… this market cannot be lost sight of. And for sure it cannot be ignored. Africans want and increasingly buy online, and this means that the e-commerce business has entered the continent for good.

Were you curious about African e-commerce and e-commerce in general? If you want to know more about opportunities, but also challenges related to e-commerce market and sales on the Internet, be sure to follow our blog. We are preparing for you a series of posts “Real challenges of e-commerce”. Practical information and tips. All based on our experience. More info soon.