Internet businesses in Africa could add US$180 billion to African GDP by 2025*, placing e-commerce at the heart of the digital economy. Both the digital economy and e-commerce play a growing role in efforts to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), bringing both new opportunities and new challenges. The number of online shoppers in Africa increased by 18% annually* as e-commerce experienced growth in Africa. E-Commerce has created an opportunity for millions of Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) to thrive, not only in their countries but also across the continent. Soon, with the African Continental Free Trade Area (ACFTA), a seller in Cairo will be able to transact directly with a consumer in Accra or Nairobi. There are many ways in which online shopping has impacted Ghana and Africa as a whole. Jumia, Africa’s leading e-commerce platform examines this below:
Price reductions and cost saving - In today's world, the one thing on everyone’s mind when shopping whether online or in physical shops is pricing. Even before we check for quality, we tend to ask ‘’how much?’. This is because everyone wants to save and get the best quality products or services at the best prices. Online shopping has brought about a great deal of price satisfaction through many promos, discount sales and extraordinary price cuts. Black Friday, Jumia Anniversary sales, Tech Week, Ghana Shopping Festival and the like are among the top sales campaigns in Ghana today where consumers enjoy up to 80% discounts on all items online. Having many different products from different brands and vendors ensures a price war which ends with the consumers benefiting greatly from this competition.
Sustainability - We may be tempted into thinking that direct financial benefits and other tangible factors are the main impacts that e-commerce has on us. However, sustainability is one very important thing to consider as well. Protecting our environment and safeguarding our health is so important that it needs so much attention when we talk about e-commerce. Delivery bikes and vans often emit carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. These are often considered as the negative effects of e-commerce and it’s related activities. In recent times, online shopping platforms like Jumia have found a way to reduce the amount of carbon dioxide emissions in our environment. Partnerships with Solar Taxi and other electronic bike companies have enabled the use of solar powered motorcycles and electric bikes for online deliveries. With high fuel prices and health related issues, the impact of such partnerships in a time like this cannot be overemphasized.
Timelessness & Safety - Imagine you have a date on Sunday at 10pm but you have been busy all day long on Friday only to check your watch and realize it’s 9pm. The shops are closed and won’t be open till Monday. What will you wear? This is a limitation that physical shops have. With online shops, you can access many products from a wide range of categories all day and all night. 24 hours a day, 7 days a week means that at whatever time of day you need an item, you can access it and get it delivered to you. This makes it very easy for all other activities that hinge on time to be executed with great success. It is also very safe as many online processes today are automated and require little to no physical interaction. Taking into consideration the challenges that covid-19 and other close contact diseases brought, safety is on the mind of many people these days.
Rapid expansion and accessibility - In many years past, technology has been seen as a preserve of the elite and urban people. The usage of apps, online platforms , online shopping and delivery, fintech and other online food delivery services are common in major cities and less so in rural areas. Today, due to the impact of e-commerce, the story has changed. Regional expansion and integration as well as the provision of pick-up stations in almost every corner of the country and continent has made it possible for everyone to access products and services quicker, more affordable and conveniently.
E-commerce and online shopping continues to impact everything we do. Our everyday lives have been greatly impacted by the use of the internet and this is just the beginning. With great strides in technology and several innovations springing up day by day, we can only smile at this new horizon with great optimism. Almost a decade has passed since e-commerce was introduced in Ghana, the growth has been amazing and the potential remains enormous. The future of trade in Ghana and Africa is e-commerce, it’s time to embrace it.
By ; Bennet Otoo (Jumia Ghana)