African E-commerce: Emerging Trends to Watch in 2014

The African e-commerce landscape is really an interesting one, even as McKinsey, a global consulting company, had recently published a report on the role of Internet in Africa. The company predicted that the e-commerce market in Africa will grow to about $75 billion by 2025.

Analysts pinpointed the process of enhancing customer satisfaction and loyalty by improving the usability, ease of use, and pleasure provided in the interaction between the customer and the product as main area of challenge for e-commerce business in Africa.

Initially, e-commerce ventures in East Africa used to focus on the affluent and the diaspora customers, with payment by credit cards, mostly in the gifting industry - but, the trend is fast giving way with innovative approach such as payment via mobile money. And lately, payment in e-commerce in Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda are mostly in mobile money, such as M-Pesa, rather than credit cards (which have only 10% penetration in Kenya, for instance).

Trends like "Buy online / Pay offline", for people who need to see the product first before spending their money has given rise to free classified ad spaces, with offers like Post free ads in Tanzania making a success story.

E-commerce as utility providers (electricity, telcos) and government services (taxes, fines, benefits) are equally seizing the mobile money opportunity. And subsequently, making mobile money as a preferred way to pay for goods and services more popular.
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