There is a silver lining to the ongoing global coronavirus pandemic as it has led to a digital and e-commerce boom in Africa, especially in Nigeria and sub-Saharan Africa, that is creating jobs and driving economic growth in many countries.


  • Introduction
  • Successful Companies
  • Nigeria Leading The Way
  • South African Online Spending Habits
  • Kenya Set For Explosive Growth


With the global economic recovery now well underway, e-commerce is exploding in Africa and across the globe. With greater numbers of people spending more time at home than ever before, demand for online services and retailers has never been higher, especially in Africa.

Africa’s E-Commerce Revolution

Not only has demand increased dramatically but, because of strict lockdown regulations imposed around the world, businesses were forced to adapt quickly to an online business model or face dire consequences which have led to increased competition and vastly superior products and services offered online.

Successful Companies.

While the e-commerce boom has been amazing for just about every company that has a presence online, there are a few shining lights that have been leading the way in the online revolution. One of the most notable success stories is Nigeria-based e-commerce platform Jumia.

Jumia reported a 50% increase in transactions made on its platform in just the first six months of 2020. The company used this momentum to raise nearly $600-million in additional funding in two share offerings in the United States of America, which also solidifies its status as a truly multinational business.

This amazing growth hasn’t been limited to just African companies either. Foreign businesses that operate online in countries across the continent have also been thriving. For example, Casino Cruise is highly rated across different markets, including South Africa, as can be seen in this Casino Cruise review and other expert opinions, and it has seen huge success operating in markets across Africa.

Inside South Africa, there is another huge e-commerce success story. Online shopping platform continues to grow from strength to strength and its revenue breached $240-million for the first time in Q4 last year. This represented year-on-year growth of over 41% and it was already a big company before the 2020 boom.

Nigeria Leading The Way.

Africa has a young and fast-growing population and nowhere is this more evident than in Nigeria. Its youthful populace has exceptionally high smartphone penetration and is not only leading the way in the e-commerce boom but many actively prefer shopping online.

Nigeria is Africa’s biggest e-commerce market by some distance and is being led by the fashion industry that grew into a $1.8-billion online market in 2020. Beauty and cosmetics also showed significant growth in online sales, reaching $199-million last year and is expected to reach $250-million by the end of 2021 – a staggering 105% increase over two years.

South African Online Spending Habits.

The market in South Africa is a little bit smaller than in Nigeria, but it is growing faster. According to data published by PayU, year-on-year spending on beauty and cosmetic products has grown 140% between 2019 and 2021 and it could be a $170-million industry by the end of this year.

Digital goods and online education have also been big winners of the e-commerce boom with sales of digital goods increasing by 69% in 2020 and could breach $350-million by the end of 2021. Online education grew by 67% last year and people seem to be looking for higher quality education online as the average spend per transaction grew from $136 to $404.

Kenya Set For Explosive Growth.

Kenya has been a bit slow off the mark compared to South Africa and Nigeria but there is a rapid rise in the number of internet users in the country that does not look likely to slow down any time soon.

Once again the fashion industry is leading the way and is showing off the enormous potential of the Kenyan market. Online spend in the fashion industry was worth just $194-million in 2019 and that is expected to grow to over $500-million by the end of 2021.

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