Strategic Marketing Africa’ magazine reports in its Fourth Quarter 2015 issue that African e-commerce is on the rise, but not yet profitable for most players
With its young, tech-savvy population, increasing urbanisation and fast-growing middle class, Africa seems a natural fit for e-commerce. In sprawling and congested cities such as Lagos and Nairobi, travelling to malls and retail outlets is notoriously difficult – so going online to buy clothes, electronics or even household products has a certain appeal for many frustrated urban consumers.
Moreover, the way in which many African markets tend to leapfrog the technology curve and rapidly embrace platforms such as mobile money bodes well for the emerging sector.
But, reports ‘Strategic Marketing Africa’, the quarterly journal of the African Marketing Confederation, experts say it’s unlikely that the major e-commerce players on the continent are turning a profit as yet. But that may start to change as online shopping systems become more sophisticated and the companies involved gain traction.
The Fourth Quarter 2015 issue of the magazine also examines Africa’s huge – and still growing – youth market, which represents an enormous opportunity for marketers who can understand them and tap into their interests and aspirations in an empathetic way. Those aged 16-34 are said to account for 53% of Africa’s income and 65% of the continent’s spending, so it’s clear why they constitute a key consumer segment.
“By virtue of their sheer numbers, young people are easily the most important consumer demographic on the African continent,” reports global management consultancy McKinsey & Company.
Other issues under the spotlight include the strategy that took Ecobank from the tiny nation of Togo to become a pan-African banking powerhouse, the success of Madagascar’s ethically sourced chocolate brands on the global stage, and the journey of soleRebels, an Ethiopian shoe brand that expects to have 150 stores operating worldwide by 2018.
‘Strategic Marketing Africa’ is published quarterly by the African Marketing Confederation (AMC), a pan-African body that represents marketing associations in South Africa, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Kenya, Ghana, Nigeria and Morocco. The AMC is also currently assisting with the formation of marketing associations for Ethiopia and the Indian Ocean Islands.