Ecommerce in Nigeria
Updated: Oct 9, 2021
The state of eCommerce in the country: public perception, opportunities, and challenges
Africa has been said to have a data collection problem. This causes a lot of difficulties ranging from the inability to make statistically sound policy decisions to problems with identifying data-informed business strategies. Most importantly, businesses find it difficult to track the numbers that are critical for growth and market penetration.
Enlumi was created to solve the African data collection problem one country at a time, specifically for businesses. Using advanced data analytics tools, Enlumi provides businesses with unique insights on customer sentiments, identifying opportunities within markets and unlocking growth for businesses.
The Evolution of ecommerce in Nigeria
With a teeming population of young people, increasing internet coverage, and a fast-growing tech/startup ecosystem, Nigeria would appear to be the perfect scene for ecommerce to bloom. Some of the first players in the Nigerian ecommerce space were companies like Dealdey, Olx, Konga, and Jumia. In the decade since these companies came on board, there’s been a lot of change in the space. From growth (Jumia and Konga) to pivots/shutdowns (Dealdey) and acquisitions (OLX got acquired by Jiji) to new entrants on the scene (Gokada, Opay etc.).
The shape of technological infrastructure needed to power ecommerce has also changed significantly, driving further growth and creating more opportunities. Payment companies like Flutterwave, Paystack, and other fintechs make it easier to accept payment for products and services while ecommerce has a lot more options for handling the logistics of getting orders to customers.
This study takes a look at how activities in the ecommerce space have shaped Nigerians’ perceptions and attitudes towards shopping online. We also got a feel for the most important factors Nigerians consider in choosing (or avoiding) an ecommerce platform.
General perceptions about Ecommerce
1. A lot of people are still wary about ordering online
We started by trying to get a picture of how popular ecommerce is among Nigerians and it was a near perfect split. 49% of the 3,344 people we surveyed said they had never ordered groceries online while the remaining had bought something through the internet at some point or the other.
2. People generally use ecommerce because it’s more convenient
For those who had made purchases over the internet, we went on to find out the reasons that made them choose ecommerce over physical shopping. Unsurprisingly, convenience (33%) and speed (23%) were the major factors in convincing our respondents to patronize online stores. Cost (13%) and safety (12%) were the next major considerations. People also considered reliability (9%) while a few were not sure.
3. Ordering online is considered more expensive
Since roughly half of our respondents had never made an online purchase, we wanted to know what the deal breaker was for them. The most popular reason we got was cost (18%). This is most likely due to the added delivery charges incurred on most online purchases. Other prohibitive factors to ordering online included convenience (13%), unavailability (13%), speed (11%), reliability (10%) and safety (10%).
4. Ecommerce would be more widely adopted in Nigeria if it’s cheaper to order online
Finally, we tried to find out what would turn the needle for our respondents. What are the factors that would make ecommerce patrons order more and convince those who had never ordered before to try it out? Again, cost was the most prominent factor followed by speed. 21% would order more online if it was cheaper to do so, while 19% would order more online if deliveries arrived faster. For various reasons, 14% of our respondents said they would not order groceries online no matter what. Other factors were reliability (13%), safety (12%), app/website quality (6%) and popularity (4%).
There’s a lot to unpack from the general perception about online purchasing, but before that, we’re going to take a close look at arguably the most popular ecommerce company in Nigeria, Jumia.
Jumia, a deep dive
Since appearing on the scene in 2012, Jumia has evolved from being known as an online phone store to becoming a one stop shop for almost anything you could want to buy on the internet. (Interestingly, this sounds pretty similar to amazon going from just an online bookstore to a platform where you can buy just about anything). “I’ll order it on Jumia” has become quite a popular phrase among Nigerians. We decided to take a look at what it is about Jumia that has made them so famous.
1. Awareness is not an issue for Jumia
First, we asked our respondents how long they’d known about Jumia. Most of the people we interviewed (70%) had known about Jumia for 3 years or more while another 17% had known the company for between 1 and 2 years. Talk about if “popular” was a company.
2. Convenience is Jumia’s most attractive feature
We were also curious about what it was that our respondents liked about Jumia. The most popular reason (for liking the most popular ecommerce company, pun intended) was convenience (21%). Optionality followed suit at 19% while cost (15%) was the third most common reason for choosing Jumia. Other reasons included high quality products (14%), great customer service(13%), speed (12%), while only 7% had never used Jumia.
3. They could be faster
To balance things up, we also asked what people felt Jumia could do better. The most common suggested improvement was speed (21%) followed by pricing (20%), product quality (17%), item selection (13%), customer service (13%), and ease of use (9%).
4. Shopping is the most common activity on Jumia
To get an idea of the nature of ecommerce patronage, we asked about which services our respondents used most on Jumia. Shopping was the most popular, picked by half of the respondents. Jumia pay came next at 24% followed by Jumia food at 12%
5. Konga remains the closest competitor
Finally, we tried to get a sense of what the competition is like. What other ecommerce brands do Nigerians use apart from Jumia? First of all, we asked which brand was more liked than Jumia and it turned out most respondents had Jumia as their favorite brand with 41% indicating that they wouldn’t put any other ecommerce brand above Jumia. Konga was the next most popular at 17% followed by Jiji (14%) and then came the social media vendors. A follow up question, about which ecommerce brands they would use if Jumia wasn’t available again revealed that Konga is the next most popular platform after Jumia with Jiji and the others following in pretty much the same order as the earlier question.
Putting it all together
We found this study very intriguing and there are a couple of important things to take away.
1. Cost (or its perception) matters:
Cost is important to Nigerians when it comes to online shopping and ecommerce. There appears to be a perception that ordering items over the internet is more expensive. Any company or individual trying to crack the ecommerce game in Nigeria has to find a way to convince customers that it’s cheaper to order online than any other option.
2. People want value for money
The perception of quality is another important insight. The data we collected indicates that there appears to be a suspicion around the quality of products bought online. This is a popular topic of discussion among Nigerians on social media, the “what I ordered vs. what I got” cliché, comparing what they thought they would be getting with what they actually got after ordering online. Being successful in ecommerce requires building a reputation for delivering or surpassing the expected quality.
This has gotten pretty long and we’ll have to call it a day here. Like what you’ve read? Interested in getting something more specific for your business or industry? Drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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