Back in 2019, the E-commerce sector only accounted for 9% of the total funding raised in the year and an even smaller percentage of total retail sales on the continent, per the Africa B2C E-commerce Market 2019 Report. The same report further indicates that South Africa and Nigeria are the lead in the regional online retail landscape, originating brands like Jiji, Konga and Takealot to mention but a few, and have more than 50% of their internet users shopping online.
COVID-19 has created the opportunity for many entrepreneurs to pivot their businesses in line with arising needs of the market. Despite the devastating effects of this pandemic, the E- Commerce industry has received a boost in an environment that has left many with no choice but to pivot or fail. Social distancing and lockdowns have also allowed other industries including the Health and Pharma, EdTech and Financial Services to display their resilience and ability to refit in changing conditions, traits that offer favorable opportunities to investors.
E-Commerce has proven even more relevant in adversity. Complemented by financial services, agriculture, healthcare and other industries, users are able to access goods from the comfort of their homes. PeachPayments is a good example, allowing businesses to accept payments across all channels including debit and credit cards, mobile wallets, electronic wallets among others. Mobile money penetration into the rural areas has allowed underserved communities to access this service. Although this year has not registered significant emergence of new players in the market, there have been a number of raises.
Per Digest Africa data, 11 e-commerce startups have raised so far this year in a mixture of rounds, with Cairo’s Elmenus raising the highest in a $8M in a Series B led by Global Ventures with participation from Algebra Ventures and Tarek Sakr and Hamad Al Homizi.
In addition to our previous briefs on African Startups That Are Helpful In The Fight Against COVID-19 and How African Startups Are Responding To COVID-19: What Help Is Out There?, more startups in and outside the E-Commerce space are working to make their products deliverable to their customers. Below are 5 startups that have either diversified into E-commerce, been formed to serve this need or experienced a shift in demand due to COVID-19 :
FinTech Flutterwave accelerated and finally launched its E-commerce portal Flutterwave Store, a portal for African merchants to create digital shops and sell online, as part of their response to the effect of COVID-19. The store has been termed similar to eBay, as it has no inventory or warehouse requirement. Users can create a profile and they display their inventory and linkup to a payment option. The service has started in 15 African countries and for now, Flutterwave is only charging fees on payments and not on profiles.
Nigerian agriTech FarmCrowdy also ventured into the e-commerce space and launched its one-stop digital marketplace FarmCrowdy Foods. This allows customers to purchase affordable fresh foods directly from farmers from the comfort of their homes. This follows their launch of Farmgate Africa which allows international buyers the opportunity to purchase commodities directly from local farming clusters.
GettitOnline aims to help merchants establish online presences for the first time as well as help overseas vendors sell their products in Zambia. The startup was launched last year with the goal to be the best, simplest and most customer-centric online shopping destination in Zambia as they plan to expand in Africa.GettitOnline offers their customers a three months warranty. As a result of the pandemic, the platform has experienced an increase in demand.
Nigeria’s AppleCart has also experienced more demand for their product as buyers are stocking up on foods for the lockdown. The platform offers an array of various foods from vegetables, meat products, fruits and spices.
Another Nigerian startup SellBeta is an online marketplace that enables users to post ads and get buyers faster. The startup which was founded in January this year has grown and now claims over 80,000 ads listed and over 500,000 visitors per month. The startup also charges no commissions or signing up fees.
Digest Africa urges all to wash your hands with soap, sanitize them frequently with an alcohol-based sanitizer, wear protective masks and gloves while going out into the public if need be but most importantly staying indoors to prevent the spread of the deadly coronavirus (COVID-19).
If you’re a startup fighting the COVID-19 pandemic through your business or offering solutions to other startups in these tough times, contact us here for the opportunity to be showcased on our website.