Nigeria’s e-commerce business is expected to grow up to one billion dollars in 2019.
Rafael Afaedor, co-founder and CEO of Supermart.ng, said, “I’m actually surprised that it should only be a billion dollars, I would expect it to be more. The wholesale and retail sector in Nigeria alone is 100 billion dollars.”
Afaedor said while this sector is largely informal and unstructured making it difficult to quantify, what e-commerce is doing is organising the sector. “People are able to buy more easily, find what it is they are looking for, and of course that means they also will buy more.”
Afaedor analysed that as it stands, it is shipping about 40 000 orders a day in Nigeria, when basket sizes are taken into consideration there is about two million dollars generated on a daily basis. Therefore on a year projection, the revenue is already close to 700 million dollars or 139 billion naira.
Despite the recent slowdown in Nigeria’s economy, Afaedor said that “salaries haven’t stopped, they are still coming in”. There are staples that always have to be bought regardless of the economic state.
“We sell food, people will have to buy food, and they are simply asking where do I get a better price? Or how do I make sure I don’t spend so much time in the supermarket… in e-commerce because of the convenience we are bringing to the table, people realise time is better spent online.”
While the economy may be in dire straits, according to Afaedor, it does not expect a decline even if growth is not steady.
Afaedor said the drivers to this growth lie in more Nigerians using the internet as behaviours change.
In a recent report by MOBOfree, a leading African social marketplace website, allowing people to buy, sell and swap products and services with other trusted people online, it found that Nigerians are selling second hand items worth 1,97 billion dollars on the website.
It recently announced a 274 per cent year-on-year increase in the total value of goods on its platform in Nigeria, according to the report.
Taking into account the obvious concerns of security, CEO of MOBOfree Cristobal Alonso, said, “Customers are going to the site because they are confident that buyers and sellers have been vetted. Once they experience the ease of use and added security, customers come back and use the site and are reassured on each occasion.”
Currently, MOBOfree has more than 4 million registered users, with more than 2 million monthly active users and over 500,000 active classifieds in Nigeria and a leading position in several other African countries such as Uganda and Zimbabwe.