The Evolution of E-commerce in Africa

The African e-commerce space is witnessing tremendous growth in recent years and already boasting of significant number of local and international players. And the increased availability of broadband access offered by mobile operators and the consistent development of mobile devices, online shopping is gaining great traction in Sub-Saharan Africa.

The repeated success stories of local e-commerce start-ups like OLX (Ghana), part of MIH Internet, is a case in point.

OLX has grown into a global brand and is internationally renowned, now in more than 90 countries, making the free classified web space the main point of attraction for adventurous online shoppers.

The pros includes the possibility for a potential buyer to arrange to meet the seller before completing any given transaction.

However, prompt delivery is seen as an obstacle for buying products online. While, convenience featured highly as the biggest advantage for shopping online. Nigeria is projected to lead the continent's e-commerce sector by reason of its population and impressive internet usage stats.

Albeit, these are early days in the continent’s e-commerce landscape, it is interesting to see the huge growth potential as indicated by the increasing awareness by locals on the advantages of online shopping. Meanwhile, preference for “credit cards” as a means of payments highlights the area in which much work is needed, especially in Nigeria.
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