Cracking e-Commerce in Nigeria, Africa’s biggest market, is not a task for the faint-hearted.
There is no secret that e-commerce in Nigeria is currently dominated by Konga and Jumia, two of the latter-day pioneers. But both platforms were predated by BuyRight Africa.com, a platform founded by serial digital entrepreneur, Leo Stan Ekeh over 12 years ago. However, BuyRight Africa.com was challenged by the absence of credit card and e-payment infrastructure at the time it held sway, eventually giving way after 18 m0nths.
The entry of Jumia and Konga undoubtedly ushered in new-found interest and confidence in the sector, especially among foreign investors. Coming at a time when many young, aspirational Nigerians had been exposed to online shopping in other climes, it was easy for both platforms to cash in on the excitement and buzz to deepen their footholds in the market. The foregoing is not to say either Jumia or Konga have not encountered their fair share of difficulties; however, both brands are still standing strong, despite the challenges.
Of the two, who is best placed to defend Africa’s place in the global e-commerce race?
The answer to the query above would best be resolved by examining how well Jumia and Konga have adapted well to the storied encumbrances that have hobbled other players in the Nigerian e-commerce market.
This assessment attempts an objective analysis of the current status of both e-commerce players, irrespective of their previous struggles. E-commerce requires huge finances and burning of capital and both brands have learnt huge lessons along the way. Jumia was founded and is currently owned by entrepreneurs out of Europe with a bold, African ambition. On the other hand, Konga is led by young, local-based but globally renowned entrepreneurs with a keen experience of the market and with deep pockets. Both companies, at inception, embarked on considerable hype and recorded huge losses after which Konga changed its strategy.. Recently, the management of Jumia has had to cut back on its African expansion after huge losses. Jumia relies heavily on outsourcing in the areas of technology, logistics and warehousing but Konga prefers to build resources locally before expanding to African countries. Average age of employees at Jumia is 31 while Konga has an average age of 28.