Online shoppers splash Sh87.3bn on electronics, fashion products

Electronics and fashion products have continued to dominate the highest expenditure categories of consumer goods bought by Kenyans.

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Electronics and fashion products have continued to dominate the highest expenditure categories of consumer goods bought by Kenyans through e-commerce platforms, even as spending on beverages and food orders declined during the year ending last December, a new report shows.

The Digital 2024 Report for Kenya, published by global digital insights platform DataReportal, shows that local consumers ordered electronics worth $366.6 million (Sh49.5 billion) during the year, representing a $7.8 million (Sh1.1 billion) additional spend, or a 2.2 percent jump, compared to a similar period the previous year.

The value of cash spent on fashion products, however, declined by $6.2 million (Sh837 million) but still retained a top position to close the year at $280.3 million (Sh37.8 billion), compared to the $286.5 million (Sh38.7 billion) spent on fashion orders during the year ended December 2022.

Last year, Kenyans spent $27.58 million (Sh3.7 billion) on online food orders, which was a $420,000 (Sh56.7 million) dip from the value spent the previous year while spending on beverages dropped by $30,000 (Sh4.1 million) to stand at $4.01 million (Sh541.4 million) during the review period.

Other product categories that recorded a drop in spending value during the period include toys and hobby tools, luxury goods as well and eyewear, which dipped at the fastest pace of four percent to stand at $3.62 million (Sh488.7 million).

Spending on household essentials, on the other hand, grew at the fastest rate of 5.7 percent to record a total order value of $3.33 million (Sh449.6 million) followed by do-it-yourself and hardware products whose ordered value grew 4.6 percent year-on-year to stand at $14.44 million (Sh1.9 billion) during the period.

Other categories where Kenyans increased their spending during the year include physical media, furniture as well as beauty and personal care products, while online spending on over-the-counter pharmaceuticals remained unchanged at an annual value of $5.91 million (Sh797.9 million).

According to the report, a bulk of the e-commerce transaction volume during the year, accounting for 35 percent of all online purchases, was completed through the cash-on-delivery payment method while debit and credit cards accounted for 28 percent.

Digital and mobile wallet payments made up only two percent of the transaction volume, while bank transfers’ contribution to the pool was one percent as other unnamed payment methods accounted for 34 percent.

Local traders on digital platforms recently came under the radar of law enforcement agencies after the Competition Authority of Kenya (CAK) revealed that it had tapped investigators to pursue rising cases of fraud.

CAK said in March that it had recorded a sharp rise in complaints of product and service misinformation, fraud, and dishonest conduct such as non-refund of cash on botched purchases.

At the time, e-commerce platforms were accused of providing misleading information to consumers, delivering faulty or wrong products, and failing to refund customers, among other dishonest conduct.

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