Kenya’s electronic commerce market is primed for major growth in the next five years as mobile internet performance continues to improve, a proposed national addressing system comes into existence, and people become more comfortable with digital transactions.
The first E-commerce ventures in East Africa used to focus on affluent costumers and the diaspora, with payment by credit cards, mostly in the travel and gifting industry, with startups such as TravelStart or MamaMikes, but the landscape is now narrowing with mobile money and mpesa.
Kenya’s enthusiastic adoption of person-to-person mobile payments creates a solid base for the growth of mobile and electronic commerce.
According to the Communications Authority of Kenya, the e-commerce market in Kenya was worth around Ksh.4.3 billion in 2014. But with internet penetration of 82.6% and 35.5 million users (according to the authority), Kenya is one of the African countries best placed for a digital commerce explosion, says Dr. Hwindingwi ,divisional director for Sage East and West Africa.
Sh3billion in mobile transactions already take place in the country each day, according to statistics from the Communications Authority.
Dr. Hwindingwi says that Small & Medium Businesses are as able to take advantage of the digital commerce wave as larger businesses. Platforms such as Facebook make it easy for entrepreneurs to interact with customers, while affordable, packaged offerings like Sage Online Tools make it easy to construct and launch a marketing and mobile-ready e-commerce site.
Since 2009, the government has made a lot of investments in the ICT sector. From the Notational Optic Fiber Backbone Infrastructure to the Fab Lab located in the University of Nairobi, the government has made sure that communication on the online platform is easy. Further, there are few restrictions on the people conducting such businesses. Such efforts have encouraged e-commerce.
Clearly, the e-commerce business Kenya has and will continue to thrive as long as the consumers are ready, the costs are low, the government is supportive and the entrepreneurs are prepared. Investing in such a venture comes with no regrets.