SHIFT

Sugar selling more than electronics online, report shows

Other best selling products online include power banks , peas and facemasks

In Summary
  • According to a Jumia report, as consumers stayed in their homes last year they depended on e-commerce for their daily shopping.
  • In 2019, electronic products were more popular online but in 2020 this changed

The Covid-19 pandemic tilted online shopping preference from electronic products to consumables like sugar, a new survey shows.

The Covid-19 pandemic tilted online shopping preference from electronic products to consumables like sugar, a new survey shows.

According to the Jumia Africa e-Commerce Index 2021, the Stay at home adherence set last year to curb the spread of the virus saw consumers heavily depend on e-commerce for their daily shopping.

The report analysed the best selling products on the Jumia platform in Africa last year , they include sugar, power banks, peas, facemasks.

In Kenya, sugar is the best selling product.

Further, the report reveals that in 2019 electronic products were the most popular in sales taking 56 per cent while fast-moving consumer goods(FMCGs) such as sugar took 44 per cent.

In 2020, this was reversed with the digital shift where FMCGs accounted 57 per cent of sales while electronics only represented 43 per cent of sales.

According to Jumia Kenya CEO Sam Chappate, online grocery shopping has lagged other categories historically in Kenya but the pandemic shifted consumer behavior.

“Kenyans are now increasingly considering online shopping for their everyday need, this is an important shift in the industry as it allows us to become a more relevant service & bigger part of everyday life for Kenyans,” said Chappate.

According to the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), internet businesses in Africa, including e-commerce which sits at the heart of the digital economy, could add $180 billion to the continent’s GDP by 2025.

The report adds that 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.

Mastercard’s e-commerce research has revealed the rapid growth of online shopping, with nearly 73 per cent of consumers in the region shopping more online than they did before the pandemic.

Mastercard believes that 20-30 per cent of the Covid-19-related shift to e-commerce spending will become a permanent feature going forward.

Further, the Jumia report noted that Africa's limited postal services and capacities remain a constraint to increased uptake of e-commerce.

E-commerce penetration in the continent stands at 1 per cent, this means that out of 100 people shopping , one does it online.

In the USA, the report noted that the penetration is at 12 per cent while in China it is at 20 per cent, the high penetration is attributed to developed postal services.

According to UNCTAD, only 16 per cent of Africans can receive post at home as there is lack of a functioning address system.

In Kenya for instance, the government is yet to deliver the much-awaited national addressing system.

Another study by the UN Economic Commission for Africa, reveals that trading goods across borders takes almost twice as much time in Africa as in other developing regions.

“This inhibits the ability of ecommerce firms to satisfy consumer speed and convenience demands. It also costs more,” the UN said in the report.

The top request expressed by e-commerce businesses surveyed by UNCTAD in 2020 was that governments develop clear national strategies to enable e-commerce expansion. 

Jumia has extended retail services to rural areas in Kenya since the pandemic first hit in March 2020.

It has since doubled the number of pick-up stations countrywide to more than 1,000 today, offering convenience and a 30 per cent reduction in shipping fees.