e-Commerce in Africa is gaining momentum with more users being connected to the internet and experiencing the power of shopping and the ability to pay for goods online. ITNewsAfrica recently published a list of the most popular e-commerce websites on the African continent and, bearing in mind that consumers are also using mobile applications, we felt it only right that we publish a review of the most well-known apps available for transacting on the internet.
1. Jumia – Nigeria
Jumia only launched its mobile app in August of this year, but the website has proven to be one the most popular online shopping destinations for Nigerian users. The free app connects users to the latest fashion, electronic devices and beauty products, as well as explore daily deals from the top international and local brands. “For Jumia it’s immensely important to also offer a mobile solution to our customers. M-commerce is not just an additional channel, but might be the entry point to gaining many more customers in a market where landlines are not always 100% stable,” said Jeremy Hodara, co-CEO of Jumia’s parent company, Africa Internet Holding.
2. Konga – Nigeria
Konga prides itself as being Nigeria’s largest online mall and recently also became the first African e-commerce website and first Nigerian company to be verified by social media platform Facebook. The website is an online shopping destination, offering visitors a catalogue of 200,000 products that span a range of categories including phones, computers, clothing, shoes, home appliances, books and baby products. The official Konga app is available for Android devices and in July the company released a Windows Phone app that is compatible with Nokia’s Lumia smartphone range and selected phones within the Asha series. “We are excited about this partnership with Nokia which has birthed this mobile app extending the convenience of online shopping to Nigerians who currently own Nokia devices,” said Konga.com’s head of marketing, Onyeka Akumah. The apps allows users to browse products and make offers to purchase.
3. iROKING – Nigeria
e-Commerce does not necessarily focus exclusively on clothing, electronics or consumable goods – entertainment can also be thrown into the mix. iRoking is one of the biggest suppliers of music to the Nigeria market and, with the mobile app, users are able to download music files from Nigeria’s top music artists. “iROKING, Nigeria’s number one online music platform, brings Nigerian music lovers some of the biggest artists of the moment, direct to Android phones,” the company states. Users are able to download unlimited tracks directly on to their mobile device and keep up-to-date with Nigeria’s freshest music and videos.
4. BidorBuy – South Africa
Launched in 1999, bidorbuy.co.za is marketed as Africa’s largest online marketplace. The emphasis of this marketplace is on product variety within numerous categories that cover all aspects of the modern lifestyle. The mobile app, which is freely available on the Android and Apple app stores, provides users with a condensed version of the website where they will be able to search for goods and openly bid for them. Users will also be able to log into their accounts and keep track of any purchases or current bids on items they have put up for sale.
5. OLX – South Africa, Kenya, Nigeria
OLX is the newest player in the online classifieds area and the company’s app works across all selected countries including Kenya, Nigeria and South Africa. OLX launched their mobile app earlier this year empowering users with the functionality to search local classifieds in their respective countries, reply to listings and post ads for free with just a few simple taps. Although the app looks similar to the official website, it has been customised for mobile viewing. In the Android marketplace, the OLX app has been downloaded over 5-million times across the world and the latest update ensured support for users without a Google Maps library.
6. Kalahari – South Africa
Kalahari.com considers itself to be South Africa’s largest and most popular online shopping destination. Naturally user would assume that the company has a mobile app – in fact, they have three different apps to choose from. The kalahari.com Shopping App is the main app in the bundle and provides users with access to books, gadgets, homeware, appliances, toys and music, all of which is available on the shopping website. According to the site there are over 8-million items that visitors can choose from using the search bar, along with the invitation to scan the barcode of any item to find out if it can be acquired at a cheaper rate at kalahari.com. The other two apps are Scan & Shop (which allows users to scan barcodes and view information of the product on Kalahari) and New Kalahari.com eReader, which makes it easier to read eBooks bought on kalahari.com
7. Mpayer – Kenya
Strictly speaking, Mpayer is not an e-Commerce application, but it does facilitate e-Commerce in Kenya. The app allows users to keep track of payments made through Kenya’s highly-successful M-PESA mobile money service and to “monitor payments to different branches and departments, and the money goes straight to the Bank or back to M-PESA”. Users can also send customised Bulk messages to their clients, reaching over 1,500 customers per second.
8. Uber – South Africa
Uber is an e-Commerce service with a bit of a twist (and turn). Recently launched in South Africa, Uber provides a service through which users can contact the company and request a driver to pick them up. The app can be used to select a pick-up and drop-off point, as well as pay for the service. “By seamlessly connecting riders to drivers through our apps, we make cities more accessible, opening up more possibilities for riders and more business for drivers,” the company said in a statement. While Uber only entered the South Africa market recently, it is already operating in 35 cities across the world and there are plans to expand further.
9. Property24 – South Africa
The property market continues to grow. While it might take a few knocks during a recession, the citizens of any country will always be on the lookout for the property of their dreams. Available for Android, Apple and BlackBerry, the app displays all of South Africa’s leading Estate Agent properties for sale and to rent, and features full-screen photographs and location-based searching. The Android app has already been downloaded more than 50 000 times, and features all the functionality users experience on the official Property24 website.
10. DealDey - Nigeria
Launched in March 2011, DealDey features a daily deal on the best things to do, see, eat, and buy in Lagos and Abuja – similar to international deal site GroupOn. In truth the website does not have a mobile app, but it does have a fairly comprehensive mobile (mobi) website. “At DealDey we support local businesses and in return they support consumers with good savings! We want to create a Win-Win scenario each and every day for local merchants who want to attract new customers, and consumers who want to save money,” the company states. DealDey has also grown exponentially over the last two years and its user base has increased from 100 000 last year to over 500 000 in March this year.
Charlie Fripp – Consumer Tech editor