In recent years, the Black Friday shopping extravaganza of the United States has reached across the Atlantic to entice African retailers and consumers. In Nigeria and South Africa, supermarket chain Shoprite experienced heavy store traffic, and even Coscharis Motors, an auto dealership in Lagos, offered Black Friday deals for prospective buyers.
A driving force behind Black Friday in Africa has been Jumia, a Nigerian tech startup focused on e-commerce and online shopping, which was recently recognized by AppsAfrica.com as an innovation leader in the burgeoning mobile sector of the Continent. Jumia started off in 2012 as an online shopping portal that mostly sold electronics and clothing; these days, the company has grown into a full-fledged e-commerce platform that is quickly developing into the “Amazon.com of Africa.”
Since 2012, Jumia has been actively engaged in developing e-commerce across Africa, and its growth has been Amazon-like in the sense that it allows third-party sellers to tap into the online shopping potential of the Continent. Jumia currently operates more than 100 online shopping websites across more than 20 nations. As of 2017, Jumia was one of the few African tech startups to be valued at more than one billion dollars, a status that has resulted in venture capital funding from investment banking firms such as Goldman Sachs.
Most African shoppers access Jumia by means of smartphone apps; they can either search for specific goods or browse through numerous catalogs. Moreover, they can also find jobs, look at real estate listings, evaluate services, or search for available deals. As can be expected one of the most popular platforms is the Jumia Market, which operates in a way that is very similar to the Amazon Marketplace in the sense that independent sellers can either sell their own inventory or look for ways to sell goods distributed by others.
The Jumia Deals platform follows the Craigslist model of free online classifieds while Jumia House focuses on real estate listings for rentals or home purchases. Jumia also features an online travel platform that specializes in booking trips as well as hotel reservations across Africa. What sets Jumia apart from other e-commerce platforms in Africa is its commitment to tech innovation. For example, the company introduced a new system that allows Egyptian shoppers to pay with credit or debit cards upon delivery of their goods. The constant innovations have earned Jumia a spot on the Top 50 Smartest Companies list maintained by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.