The building blocks for future developments in e-tailing are emerging in sub-Saharan Africa, as a growing middle class and young population create a demand for products that store-based retail simply cannot meet, due to a lack of shopping malls and gridlocked cities. Advancements have been most notable in Nigeria where a surge in telecom investments and smartphone purchases has fuelled growth in internet usage from 20% in 2009 to 41% in 2014. Furthermore, according to Euromonitor International data, Nigeria boasts the largest online market for apparel and footwear in the region, which is expected to grow from US$104 million in 2014 to US$1,077 million in 2019, mainly due to the dynamic development of trusted e-tailers, Jumia and Konga.
Meanwhile, South Africa, the region’s largest apparel market overall, is expected to record a much slower pace of growth in internet retailing from US$50 million in 2014 to US$73 million in 2019. This highlights consumer preference to use the internet as a research tool, and purchase items in store as a result of the mature formal retail environment.