COVID-19

Technology firms ride COVID-19 pandemic with increased activity

In Summary
  • Media service provider, Netflix has reported 50 per cent increase in subscription rate in most countries including Kenya, as people stay glued to different movies.
  • Delivery firms which are now ‘running the town’, are also working round the clock with a surge in deliveries therefore earning more.
Illustration of the convenience of online food delivery
Illustration of the convenience of online food delivery
Image: PXFUEL

Various businesses are reaping benefits from the stay at home directive set to contain the spread of the coronavirus.

Media service provider, Netflix has reported 50 per cent increase in subscription rate in most countries including Kenya, as people stay glued to different movies.

Delivery firms which are now ‘running the town’, are also working round the clock with a surge in deliveries therefore earning more.

 
 
 
 

Jumia, an e-commerce platform has gotten an opportunity to fill in the market gap by partnering with various firms to deliver goods.

Traditionally, the ordinary customer bought high-value products such as electronics but selling everyday consumables had remained elusive for Jumia.

"We have seen a shift in buying behaviour as people spend less on electronics and more on  dry foodstuff and groceries," said Sam Chappate, CEO Jumia Kenya.

The firm has partnered with grocery firm, Twiga foods to deliver the products for them.

Social distancing has also seen people lean more to self grooming and this has seen an increase in sales on gym equipment, hair products and shavers on Jumia.

"Restaurants are not doing so well on our platform though due to the curfew," Chappate said

Uber Eats and Glovo, Jumia’s rival in food delivery, are also among the other winners from the stay home directive.

However Glovo has mainly benefited from the grocery delivery selection it offers.

"For food delivery we haven't really benefited as most of the restaurants on our platform have closed, and those that are  functional have a less ordering period," said Priscilla Muhiu, Head of Marketing for Africa, Glovo.

 
 

According to Priscilla, Glovo is mainly offering a lifeline for the functional restaurants to continue operating during the coronavirus pandemic.

Tibbz restaurant is one of the businesses that has remained afloat through offering food delivery through Glovo.

"My business is really benefiting from the food delivery from Glovo as we are getting more orders than before, profits have even gone up by 30 per cent," said Margaret Mutindi, Owner Tibbz Restaurant.

"We are hopeful more restaurants will open following the directive by the Ministry of Health and we will assist them where we we can to get them running," Priscilla said.

Uber Eats also has a grocery delivery option aside from food delivery to support Kenyans during this difficult period.

Globally, online retailer Amazon has benefited over recent weeks as millions of people in the U.S. and abroad are turning to online marketplaces to fulfill their essential requirements like groceries, food, toiletries, and medicines.

Telcommunication firms have seen increased communication through calls, text messaging and other digital platforms, thus more business for them.

Safaricom reported  a 70 per cent surge in data usage as people stay at home and the number of requests for home fibre connectivity has also gone up.

 

Mobile money providers, also expect more returns as cashless transactions have been promoted.

 

Kenyans have also started operating businesses from their homes, some selling boiled legumes others offering various services such as filing tax returns at a fee.

Mary Njeri, a teacher who lives in Syokimau sells boiled legumes to people in the area since she has not been going to work since schools were closed.