The future of e-commerce is both exhilarating and daunting for players in the sector, depending on how receptive they are to the dynamic nature of the sector. With the current outlook for 2020, the market is growing rapidly and there are changes that will help businesses grow while there are also new challenges that some businesses may possibly not keep up with.
However, despite these challenges, there are definitely opportunities to look out for. For instance, according to Statista, the global e-commerce retail revenues are projected to grow to $6.54 trillion by 2023 as against the 2019 worldwide e-commerce sales of $3.53 trillion. Players in the sector will profit from the various trends, which are potent to transform the e-commerce sector in Nigeria into a profit-making venture.
The rise and rise of mobile shopping
According to the 2019 Jumia Mobile Report, 85% of the Nigerian consumers on the platform shopped via their mobile devices that is via mobile web and the Jumia mobile App. This is rather unsurprising because at the end of 2018, there were over 5 billion unique mobile subscribers across the globe, and 60% of the connection was through mobile devices, according to GSMA, 2019. Internet users peaked at 3.6 billion. Locally, there were over 172 million Nigerians (87% penetration of the Nigerian population) who had access to mobile devices, whereas only 112 million Nigerians had access to the internet. While the number of mobile/smartphone users might have increased year-on-year, its penetration is still very insignificant. Internet connectivity and the availability of affordable smartphones continue to drive an increasing uptake of mobile shopping. The year 2020 will witness the entrance of new, affordable mobile devices and, the government’s efforts to expand the reach of the internet through the various mobile operators will further drive increased mobile shopping.
Voice commerce will be on the rise
2017 data show that about 13% of U.S smart speaker owners say they make purchases by voice; the numbers are projected to grow to 55% by 2022 according to OC and C Strategy. In the U.K alone, the total spend on voice shopping has increased. However, in Nigeria Google trends show that the interest in voice commerce has not generated any substantial data but the number of people verbally describing the products they want to purchase rather than browsing about the product has increased, and this is becoming a trend. The fact that other countries are growing in this aspect is a major reason to latch on this. E-commerce players in Nigeria should look for ways to integrate voice commerce in their respective platforms.
E-commerce platforms doubling as an advertising platform for businesses
The number of unique visitors on most e-commerce platforms is enormously huge. Although, while not all of them visit the platforms to order an item, most of them use the prices listed on the platforms as a benchmark for validating price differences in offline stores. For instance, during the 2019 Black Friday, Jumia recorded over 100 million unique visitors and over one billion page views during the one month campaign. The increasing number of traffic being witnessed daily on e-commerce platforms presents a compelling case for monetizing this huge advantage. Many advertisers are seeking innovative ways to reach their target audience, and leveraging e-commerce platforms with reach across the continent will deliver on such objective. Just recently, Jumia announced that its platform will now be available to businesses to advertise their products and services. In fact, according to the company’s CEO, Juliet Anammah, the advertising initiative is one of the strategic levers of growth for the company in 2020.
Therefore, e-commerce platforms are expected to play big in online advertising as it provides a significant opportunity to grow core offerings and profitability. Alibaba has already become the market leader in digital advertising in China. Amazon is estimated to have generated huge ad revenue. Jumia is building robust online advertising to help other businesses manage their ads, reach more buyers and increase sales.
Brick & Mortar stores will continue to shrink, as most of them will embrace online
It is important for retailers to keep in mind that the digital channels already play a role in consumers’ buying decisions and thought processes. A significant percentage of offline shoppers use their mobile devices in-store to look up products and read reviews. Customers research products online before making it into the actual store. Shopping online is far more convenient and quicker. There are more sales, no lines, and there is far more selection. Brick and mortar retail outlets will continue to shrink unless customers have very good reasons to visit a store in person.
More SMEs and big brands will leverage e-commerce to drive growth
As businesses expand beyond their local markets, both big, small and medium-sized businesses are expected to leverage e-commerce for growth in 2020. Big and small businesses will increase the use of e-commerce to boost conversion, create a personalized customer experience, use data for deeper insights, cross-sell to existing customers and leverage discounts to increase sales.
Extension of logistics services to the third party
Fast and on-time delivery of products to customers will continue to play a major role in e-commerce. However, to address infrastructure challenges such as logistics, a large network of leased warehouses, pick up stations for customers and drop off points for merchants will form a trend in 2020. E-commerce platforms will extend their services to third parties in 2020 to address critical infrastructure issues. Technology, innovation, partnerships and collaboration will play a key role in addressing logistics challenges in order to stay competitive and profitable. Beyond delivering items purchased on its platforms, e-commerce giant like Jumia will open up its logistics services to the public. This is the first time that Jumia will be providing logistics and delivery services to people other than the shoppers on its platform.
Fintech will overtake Payment on Delivery
While most online shoppers in Nigeria still prefer payment on delivery, this is expected to reduce drastically by the end of 2020 because the rise of Fintech is changing the narrative. More and more online shoppers are starting to develop trust in online payment. A recent report by Jumia shows that this development will grow bigger in 2020. According to the Jumia Q3 Financial Report 2019, over 30 percent of the transactions on Jumia was done through JumiaPay, its payment platform. Over a year ago, payment on delivery was the preferred option for most consumers. This clearly is an indication that the trust issues around the security and safety of consumers’ data and money are clearly disappearing gradually. According to predictions, the company’s payment platform might become its cash cow in years to come.
Olukayode Kolawole is the Head, PR & Communications at Jumia Nigeria