FOLLOWING the rapid increase in growth experienced by the Africa’s mobile economy, the Global mobile Suppliers Association (GSMA) has said that the Mobile Economy in Sub-Saharan Africa recorded over 20 million subscribers at the end of last year.
By 2025, the total Sub-Saharan mobile subscriber base will reach a whopping 600 million. Compounding on this increase in mobile subscribers will be improved 4G connections, to a rate of 23 per cent more by the year 2025.
As Africa’s mobile economy becomes more robust, so will its consumer base. In a study conducted by Geopoll on e-commerce and Africa’s youth, “58 per cent of Nigerian respondents indicated making an online purchase in the past month”, with diverse purchasing profiles ranging from “alcoholic beverages, non-alcoholic beverages, home décor, hygiene, and automotive parts”.
In East Africa, Kenya and Uganda reported a smaller, yet a significant number of online shoppers. Uganda displayed the lowest overall rate of online shoppers, with around 57 per cent of respondents reporting that they had never shopped online before.
Across all six surveyed countries (Ghana, Côte D’Ivoire, Kenya, Nigeria, Tanzania, and Uganda), the most popular commodity purchased was electronics, with Kenyans making around 64 per cent of their purchases in the electronics category. Clothing was a close second with Tanzania and Ghana reporting the most purchases.
Facebook, one of the African continents most popular social media platforms (recording 139 million users in 2018), has been able to attract users in-part due to its capacity to facilitate and curate connections, but also because of “free basics” plans offered to mobile users in around 21 African countries.
In a similar move, Unilever began offering loans to small businesses for products purchased under Unilever’s distributors in Kenya. In exchange, the company was able to gather information on shop owners’ purchasing history. In this case, Unilever benefited from an increased motivation for store owners to purchase their products and a massive collection of big data.
“The future of lending decisions is going to be based on data, so we have to move away from the old model of knowing your customers. Sometimes, we don’t know them but the data show that they can be trusted. It’s the ability to analyse the data that we are collecting and linking to the customer’s behaviour which is the reason for our success,” said Mr Joshua Oigara, KCB’s Chief Executive Officer.