14 Oct The Effect of Smartphone Growth Across Sub-Saharan Africa on Online Payments and eCommerce

As part of our ongoing research into online payments, eCommerce payments across Africa, the latest GSMA report has useful information and understanding for online payment providers and multinational eCommerce companies.

Growth in mobile phone subscribers in Sub-Saharan Africa has slowed to less than 5% compound annual growth rate over the next 3 years, which is half of what it was previously.  By 2023, mobile phone penetration in Sub-Saharan Africa is expected to reach 50% adding 300m new mobile phone connected consumers to the fray.

The current total of more than 450m unique mobile phone subscribers are just 9% of the global total.    In Sub-Saharan Africa 44% of users have a mobile phone as compared to the global average of 66%, so we can expect a considerable amount of growth over the next few years which will provide consumers with the ability to shop and pay online.

eCommerce merchants need to consider the fact that the only way for African consumers to go online is with their mobile phone and mobile data.  This has implications for web design, the use of apps, and low bandwidth solutions to make it easy and affordable.  

Another consideration is that these consumers mostly use one of the 135 mobile money services like Airtel Money, Tigo Cash, Vodafone Cash, M-Pesa or other regionally appropriate payment method.  Mobile money is the “banking” and “card” system for African payments. There are more than 120m active mobile money accounts in Sub-Saharan Africa.

Please contact us if you are a multinational eCommerce company expanding to countries like Kenya, South Africa and Nigeria - we can help you make sense of the most appropriate payment methods for each territory.

Thank you to GSMA for your content:  "The Mobile Economy - GSMA Intelligence." Accessed 14 Oct. 2019.