Lagos, Jan. 20, 2024: Jumia, one of Nigeria’s largest e-commerce destinations, has projected that the worth of the country’s ever-growing e-commerce industry will reach $22 billion in 2024.
The company made the disclosure via a report titled: “Jumia’s “E-Commerce in Rural Areas in Nigeria” on Friday in Lagos.
It noted that the e-commerce digital revolution was not confined to bustling metropolises but was quietly transforming the lives of millions of consumers in secondary cities and rural areas.
This, the report explained, informed the company’s decision to be at the forefront of this rural e-commerce.
It stated that by strategically expanding beyond Lagos and Abuja, the company would connect previously underserved communities with a vast array of goods and services available online, thereby bridging the retail gap.
“Prior to the creation of companies like Jumia that made it possible for consumers to shop without geographical restrictions, purchases of several commodities required lengthy trips, increased costs and risks that accompanied traversing unsafe roads.
“E-commerce has grown over the past decade with the increased penetration of smartphones and the internet.
“The prevalent use of smartphones enables consumers to conveniently access e-commerce platforms and make purchases from anywhere in the world,” it said.
The report added that in recognition of the growing number of rural Nigerians with internet access, the company embarked on strategic expansion into secondary cities and rural areas.
This, the report said, involved establishing logistical networks, partnering with local agents and businesses, and tailoring product offerings to cater to the specific needs of rural communities.
According to it, Jumia launched the JForce programme — grassroots initiative to take e-commerce to secondary cities within Nigeria — to meet this need.
The report said under the aegis of the JForce programme, Jumia had established efficient delivery infrastructure, including partnerships with local logistics service providers and leveraging community pick-up stations, reaching even the most remote villages.
“This initiative has been a vital way to enable many rural communities to leapfrog economic and geographical barriers, stimulating growth and development with target communities and the e-commerce sector.
“But the communities are not the only beneficiaries. Through JForce, Jumia works with local entrepreneurs, training them as agents to facilitate online purchases and deliveries, creating jobs and fostering economic growth within the communities,” it said.
The report, however, noted that in spite of the success, challenges remained such as limited internet connectivity and electricity and digital literacy in some rural areas which hindered adoption.
“Jumia is actively addressing these challenges. Last year, the company partnered Starlink, a satellite internet service, to retail the Starlink Residential Kit in Nigeria to bridge the digital divide by delivering Starlink’s high-speed, low-latency internet to previously underserved regions.
“In the third quarter of 2023, Jumia experienced significant growth in Gross Merchandise Volume for physical goods across five countries, a surge that can be partially credited to its intensified expansion into rural areas and secondary cities.
“With the recent appointment of a new Chief Executive Officer in Nigeria, the company’s focus is on driving expansion initiatives across the country, aiming to replicate the successes observed in those five countries.
“Doubling down on this expansion strategy, Jumia aims to broaden its reach, linking more consumers to the e-commerce sphere, extending beyond the confines of major cities and into previously untapped regions within the country,” it said.