Mobile phones are driving e-commerce sales in Africa as more people on the continent acquire smartphones and internet use, especially in urban areas, rise, a new report by performance marketing firm, Criteo has shown.
The report released during the Mobile West Africa conference held in Lagos last week showed that the number of retail e-commerce transactions taking place through smartphones in Nigeria spiked by 73 percent within the first quarter of 2016, Vanguard reported.
Globally, mobile commerce trend which has risen by 39 percent since the last quarter of 2015.
The report which shows smartphones becoming the dominant m-commerce device indicates smartphones taking a huge chunk, about 18 per cent in Africa, of e-commerce transactions compared to about 10 percent share of other mobile devices.
While desktop sales dominated e-commerce transactions within weekdays and Saturdays in Nigeria, in South Africa’s mobile commerce trends where mobile dominates all weekend transactions.
E-commerce is growing fast in sub-Saharan Africa’s sturdier economies and fastest of all in South Africa, where retail resembles that of South East Asian countries with its more developed e-commerce sector.
The Internet’s contribution to Africa’s gross domestic product stood at 1.1 percent in 2013, much lower than other emerging markets. But this could rise to 10 percent, or $300 billion, by 2025, according to a report by consultants McKinsey’s & Company.
There has been increased investment in e-commerce startups on the continent.
Africa Internet Group AIG, a tech company that runs a number of e-commerce site across he continent including Jumia and Jovago, crossed the $1 billion valuation mark in March after it announced that French insurance giant AXA had invested $84 million for an eight percent stake.
This made AIG the first ever tech unicorn in Africa.
In another big investment in 2014, hedge fund Tiger Global invested $100 million in South African online shopping company Takealot.
African consumers are increasingly searching online platforms with commercial intent, including querying prices of goods, and researching where products or services can be purchased.
According to research by Google South Africa, there was an increase of 49 percent in query volumes in Nigeria, 37 percent in South Africa and 33 percent in Kenya, during 2014.