E-commerce in Africa is growing fast and its potential remains enormous as more people get connected to the internet. Across sub-Saharan Africa 303 million people, about 28% of the population, are connected to the mobile internet, according to the 2021 GSMA mobile economy report, and this number is expected to rise to 40% in three years’ time.
As the number of those connected to the internet grows, and shoppers increasingly opt to buy goods online, e-commerce platforms are set to experience a spike in the number of orders made and the value of goods bought — as happened recently with Jumia.
A Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) report made by the pan-African e-commerce platform on Tuesday shows that the value of goods sold on its platform over the Black Friday season grew by 30 percentage points this year to reach $150 million.
Black Friday sales on Jumia started in 2012 and run from the first Friday of November to the end of the month. Orders made during that period rose by 39 percentage points to reach 4.3 million as the number of Jumia merchants also increased by 11 percentage points to 46,000. Jumia also recorded 40 million unique visitors, a 27 percentage points increase over that period.
As reported recently, the most popular products on the site were consumables, followed by beauty and fashion items. This comes after the e-commerce platform launched more dark stores to expand its grocery category — which as per the Q3 results seem to be paying off, yet profitability for the NYSE-listed firm remains elusive.
“Our consumers are increasingly turning to Jumia for their everyday needs with the top three fastest growing physical goods categories in volume terms being fast moving consumer goods (‘FMCG’), followed by beauty and fashion,” said Jumia on the SEC filing.
In a past interview with TechCrunch, Jumia attributed the shift in shopping habits to the stay-at-home restrictions that fueled the need for online shopping as well as the youthful population that is quick to adopt new trends and the increasing smartphone and internet penetration across the continent. Smartphones contribute the most (75%) traffic to the e-commerce site, meaning that as more people get connected, online shoppers are set to increase. Nigeria, South Africa and Kenya account for most of the online sales on Jumia.
Packages handled by Jumia Logistics, its delivery business over the Black Friday season, reached 5.3 million, which Jumia said was “more than double the average monthly package volume in the first 10 months of 2021.”
Jumia is currently the biggest e-commerce platform in Africa, leading hundreds of others, including Nigeria’s Marketplace Africa and South Africa’s Souq, and bidorbuy. The e-commerce platform is available in 11 markets across Africa, including Algeria, Senegal, Tunisia, Ivory Coast, Uganda and Morocco.