E-commerce has grown tremendously in the last few years, fundamentally changing the shopping habits of Kenyans. This has led to emergence of rural e-commerce.
E-commerce growth is due to a number of factors including increased internet connectivity and change in consumer behaviour. Needless to say, the COVID-19 pandemic accelerated the rise of e-commerce in Kenya and across the globe.
Furthermore, the current Kenyan Government has identified e-commerce as one of the job creation sectors for the youth.
Jumia, one of the leading tech start-ups in Africa is arguably the biggest e-commerce platform in Kenya and in a number of African countries.
The company now sees rural e-commerce as the next growth area.
Firstly, Jumia sees the rural retail space as an underserved sector. Hence, taking e-commerce to the rural consumer will offer them a diverse catalogue of up to 14 million products and at affordable pricing. In addition, it brings convenience.
Based on a recent report, Jumia notes only 15% of retail in rural areas is modern retail. This means the 85% of traditional retail offers an opportunity for growth. Traditional retail limits the options consumers have when purchasing.
Jumia claims it has a wide range of products and offers competitive pricing. It sees these as the aspects that will convince rural consumers to switch to Jumia.
Furthermore, Jumia is banking on their JForce team to push for the adoption of rural e-commerce. Jumia’s JForce team has knowledge relating to consumers and educates them on how e-commerce works.
Additionally, Jumia is banking on Jumia Global to convince rural communities to adopt rural e-commerce. Jumia Global enables customers to shop overseas and get goods at their doorstep.
One of the aspects to believe in rural e-commerce is youthful population. Majority of Kenyans in rural areas are the youth. Based on Jumia’s report, the average age of consumers in rural areas is 27.
Western Region Leads in Rural E-commerce
By order volume, the Western region promises to be the most interested in rural e-commerce. The top areas are Eldoret, Nakuru, Thika, Kakamega, Kitale, and Kisumu. Currently, Jumia’s delivery to upcountry takes 2 to 5 days.
The orders on Jumia to rural areas make up 23% of the total orders made. Jumia has about 356 Pick-Up Stations (PUS) in the country. The furthest ones are in Lamu and Lodwar towns. This demonstrates their ability to handle rural e-commerce.
Also, Jumia works closely with over 45 logistics partners countrywide.
Jumia believes this phase will bring job creation to rural areas. In addition, it will enhance price equality by eliminating middlemen.