Jumia, an Amazon clone for Africa backed by the Rocket Internet ecommerce startup incubator and launched last year, is pushing onto mobile with the launch of its first smartphone app. The Android app, available today in Nigeria, Morocco, Ivory Coast and Kenya, puts Jumia’s entire 50,000 product catalogue within swiping distance of smartphone users. Payments options in the app are credit card (not currently offered in Ivory Coast) or cash on delivery.
Smartphone use in Africa has been growing rapidly in recent years, fuelled by low cost Androids, even though basic mobile talk plus text phones still dominate. For instance Nigerian Communication Commission data records 120.4 million mobile subscribers (78% of population) and 48.2 million smartphone users in Nigeria (based on active internet subscriptions in June 2013).
“The smartphone penetration rate in sub Saharan Africa has increased immensely over the last years and will continue do so,” commented Jeremy Hodara, co-CEO of Jumia’s parent company, Africa Internet Holding, in a statement.
He described m-commerce as an “enormous opportunity” in the fast-growing emerging economies which Jumia is targeting — both for convenience retail and because mobile networks can be more reliable/available than local fixed infrastructure.
“For Jumia it’s immensely important to also offer a mobile solution to our customers. M-commerce is not just an additional channel, but might be the entry point to gaining many more customers in a market where landlines are not always 100% stable,” he added.
Jumia sells a range of products including mobile phones, clothes, baby & children’s products, books and home electronics. The website receives around 150,000 daily unique visitors, with a registered user base of 750,000. In Nigeria, it has become the fourth most visited website, according to Rocket.
Back in March, Jumia raised €20 million ($26 million) from Summit Partners. Prior backers include Millicom and JP Morgan Asset Management.