Online shopping in the country is up 14% since 2014 due to growing internet usage, a new report from Google shows.

The report, Consumer Connected Study 2017 indicates that the rise is from the 3% recorded in 2014 to the current 17%.

Internet usage is on a growing curve with 53% of Kenyans over 16 years able to go online.

This is up from 49% in 2016, making Kenya the third largest country in Africa with more people online compared to the leading South Africa at 65% and Nigeria at 63%.

While there is growth, Google’s Africa PR lead Dorothy Ooko noted that most online users are inexperienced with most of them assessing their digital skills as fair or poor.

“Despite the strong use and high importance of the Internet, many online users still assess their own digital skills as fair or poor. However, digital skills are increasingly becoming a key success factor in business and private life. The share of inexperienced users shows the high demand for digital training in Kenya,” she said.

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Online shopping growth comes at a time when an influx of online marketing sites in the country is on the rise with Jumia and Kilimall being the most sought-after online shopping sites at 38% and 22%, respectively, according to recent findings by digital marketing research firm e-Ensures.

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There is rising usage of social media platforms like Facebook, WhatsApp and Instagram as alternative online market points contributing to at least 15% of the shopping.

Other sites include Rupu and the yet to be unveiled Masoko by Safaricom scheduled to be introduced before the year ends. The research firm notes that online shopping in the country is largely driven by online advertisement, referrals and availability of products selling at crazy discounts.

However, compared to the global rate of online shopping standing at 59%, the consumer connected study shows that Kenya is 36% behind the global rate, an indication that there is a long way to go.

Lack of trust, shipping costs, slow delivery, authenticity of the products, fear of payments methods and lack of knowledge to make orders are some of the top reasons given for slow growth.

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