The mobile internet sector in Africa is developing rapidly, with smartphones becoming much more affordable and growing in popularity. Jumia has taken advantage of this with a mobile app that allows an increasing number of Africans to access the e-commerce platform wherever they are.
The number of mobile subscriptions in Africa has risen rapidly in recent years, from fewer than 25 million in 2001 to over 720 million in 2012. Moreover, many activities that would be carried out on a laptop or PC in Western countries, such as online banking or shopping, are done on mobile phones in Africa. In fact, according to a report published in June 2014 by the Swedish technology company Ericsson, 70% of internet users in the countries evaluated use mobile phones to go online, compared with just 6% who use a desktop computer. This is because mobile phones are now available cheaply across the continent, with low-specification internet-capable phones available for as little as £12 ($20).
Jumia’s Android app was launched one year ago to take advantage of the continent’s growing mobile internet penetration. According to the company, the app offers all the functionality of the Jumia website, keeping in mind the fact that for many users this will be their main way of interacting with the service, and prides itself on usability. To this end, users can browse and filter the complete list of products, read product descriptions and reviews, and order and pay securely through the app, with no need for a PC at any point.
The app has now been selected to be featured in the Our Favourites section of the Google Play store, which reflects its usefulness, quality and popularity. It has already been downloaded over 100,000 times, a clear indication of the demand for mobile applications in Africa, and is complemented by a recently-launched Windows 8 app so that as many Africans as possible can benefit from the service. Nicholas Martin, CEO for Jumia Nigeria, commented: “We want to provide the best and most convenient service for Jumia customers, and our app is a great way of doing this. We’ve has thousands of satisfied customers so far, and expect many more in the coming months and years.”