The United Nations Conference on Trade and Development ranked 44 African countries on their ‘readiness’ for e-commerce. This is based on 4 major criteria which include bank or mobile money account penetration, internet usage, availability of internet services and the reliability of postal services.
Nigeria remains the biggest market for online shopping in Africa both in terms of shoppers and revenue, and when you add South Africa and Kenya to the mix, you account for almost 50% of online shoppers of the whole continent which comes to about 21 million.
Africa is opportunity. Fact. However, what remains an issue for wholesalers, distributors, manufacturers and retailers alike, is that final delivery mechanism to the customer in Africa. Everyone is really good at delivering products to hubs and well established infrastructure, but nobody has really solved the riddle of the “Last Mile”.
If you look at how Shutl (shutle.com, now an Ebay company) approached deliveries in the United Kingdom and how their fastest online shopping delivery was just under 14 minutes the last time I checked, one cannot help but to think that however solves the riddle, will become very successful in the African market.
Companies will have to fully embrace the African landscape to truly solve the “last mile” and this would include the involvement of local communities, micro-businesses and entrepreneurs alike. It will be very interesting to see who will win the race to be launch one of the biggest disruptions in the African market and by when.