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Africa’s e-commerce user growth expected to surge by 50% in three years’ time

African e-commerce user growth is expected to increase by 50 percent in 2025, overtaking Asia which has the highest e-commerce user numbers globally currently, according to data service ecommerceDB. Photo: Freepik

African e-commerce user growth is expected to increase by 50 percent in 2025, overtaking Asia which has the highest e-commerce user numbers globally currently, according to data service ecommerceDB. Photo: Freepik

Published Feb 17, 2022

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AFRICAN e-commerce user growth is expected to increase by 50 percent in 2025, overtaking Asia which has the highest e-commerce user numbers globally currently, according to data service ecommerceDB.

It said the Statista Digital Market Outlook had found that in Africa, even though absolute user numbers were still low in comparison, it was projected to see an increase in active online shoppers of an incredible 56 percent from 334 million to 518 million users between 2021 and 2025.

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By 2025, Statista Digital Market Outlook analysts expected global e-commerce user numbers to hit 3.1 billion. This translated into an outstanding user-growth rate of 32 percent.

Last year 2.4 billion people in Asia were active-paying online shoppers, according to the Statista Digital Market Outlook. This was more than half the total population or corresponded to an e-commerce penetration rate of 53 percent.

Other regions like Australia, the Americas or Europe would grow their e-commerce user numbers by less than 20 percent.

Asia was an international frontrunner with technical innovation and the adoption of digital trends, including e-commerce. This was reflected in the weight that Asia had in international comparison in terms of total online marketplace, GMV, for example, but it also became apparent in consumers’ lifestyles.

Due to super apps like WeChat in China, Asian consumers’ everyday activities were almost permanently intertwined with online shopping services. In combination with Asia’s large population, it was no surprise, thus, that the continent has the highest e-commerce user numbers in absolute terms compared to other world regions.

However, when it came to growth, it was Africa which came out tops in the international e-commerce user comparison, the report noted.

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EcommerceDB noted while e-commerce penetration in Africa was as low as 13 percent in 2017, according to the Statista Digital Market Outlook, the penetration rate increased steadily by around 3 to 4 percentage points each year, reaching 28 percent or a total e-commerce user number of 334 million in 2021.

“Surprisingly, there was no major jump in user numbers in 2020, as one might expect. E-commerce penetration increased by 4 percentage points from 20 percent in 2019 to 24 percent in 2020. Statista Digital Market Outlook analysts expect the trend in Africa to continue just as smoothly until 2025, hitting total user numbers of 519 million or a penetration rate of 40 percent,” it noted.

In a different study, Online Retail in South Africa 2021 study, conducted at the end of last year by World Wide Worx, with the support of Mastercard and Standard Bank, total growth for online retail in South Africa in 2020 had come to 66 percent, bringing the total of online retail in South Africa to R30.2 billion. The forecast for 2021 of 30 percent growth to R42bn, would be tested in the 2022 edition of the study, it said.

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