Only 13pc of Kenyans buy, sell products on e-commerce platforms


Only 13 percent of Kenyans are using e-commerce platforms such as Jumia and Kilimall to sell and buy products, underpinning the use of social media networks by marketers and shoppers.

A report on Kenya’s Digital Economy by a global advisory firm, Dalberg has shown retailers and shoppers prefer the social sites that support direct marketing, engagement between businesses and buyers, and goods are paid upon delivery.

The rate of adoption of online market places in Kenya remains slow due to high delivery costs, highly fragmented markets and lack of clear named streets and buildings leading to supply chain barriers.

“This figure (13 percent) underestimates the real extent of e-commerce, as respondents largely reported the use of marketplace platforms like Jumia and Kilimall, while the full breadth of e-commerce also encompasses digital trade through informal platforms,” the report stated.

The survey targeted 2,456 households across the country who are users of digital economy.

There are over 100 online retail marketplaces and individual stores in the country.

High delivery costs, importing charges, lack of a national addressing system and concerns over arrangements for returns by customers associated with the e-commerce platforms remain a hindrance to adoption, according to a report by Communication Authority of Kenya.

Customers are also opting to shop on video-supported sites such as Tiktok, Instagram and Facebook creating a shift in the industry.

The increasing demand for thess platforms amid high mobile penetration risks the closure for some of the sites.

Last year, Safaricom-backed e-commerce platform, Masoko left the scene citing need to concentrate on key product lines such as M-Pesa.

Dalberg said businesses did not use advanced digital services with about 44 percent of self-employed people and business owners using to support their sales.

Out of this, 86 percent use these services to communicate with customers and vendors.