22/05/2024
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E-commerce and Online Shopping Trends in Zambia

With Zambia’s telecommunications sector having experienced rapid growth over the last couple of years due to the government and ZICTA’s more liberal regulatory approach, eCommerce has seen a greater integration into Zambian society helping propel online shopping tendencies for the populace.

The COVID-19 era brought with it unprecedented logistics and commerce issues because of the virility the disease came with. Because of this, a lot of companies in Zambia both small and large had to come up with alternative ways of advertising and selling their products. The use of mobile commerce increased rapidly, especially in domestic payments in retail, wholesale, utility, and obligatory payments. It was estimated that the total number of active internet subscriptions increased from 10.3 million at the end of 2020 to 10.4 million by the end of 2021. More and more people in Zambia are using their smartphones to shop online due to the fact that smartphones are more affordable than laptops and desktops, and they are also more convenient for shopping on the go.

Domestic e-commerce services have grown to a significant level and have been seen as the new normal. Most Zambians find it more convenient and safer to purchase their ZESCO electricity tokens, paying their water bills, and other utilities online rather than physically. Almost every banking and the non-financing institution offers electronic purchases of their services in one way or the other. ZRA, NAPSA, RTSA, and PACRA now offer fully functional online platforms to their customers that cater to a myriad of services. It has become even easier to lodge queries and inquiries through said platforms.

There has been a significant growth in Zambia from online purchases of products primarily in the United States, United Kingdom, and China. With how accessible the internet has become to many, it is now much easier for someone to purchase products such as electronics, footwear, clothing, and accessories from abroad. Locally-based couriers such as Tigmoo Shop N Ship and iShop have created platforms on the internet for someone to sign up with almost zero hassle. The logistics are handled by them to and from said countries. As more and more payment options become available to the consumer, it puts the onus on ecommerce providers to implement these options into their businesses which makes the payment and procurement process much easier overall for both parties. There is also growing demand for groceries, personal care products, and travel and tourism products that can be delivered locally through bike-centric couriers like Ulendo Eats or Yango Delivery.

Social media platforms such as Facebook and Instagram are becoming increasingly important for online shopping. This is because these platforms allow businesses to connect with potential customers in a more personal way. Facebook Marketplace holds hundreds of thousands of listings from users across the country selling various products. A person needs to only view a listing, contact the seller, and set up a delivery. The hassle of having to view the products physically no longer exists to the benefit of both parties.

With e-commerce and online shopping comes special dates or holidays assigned special discounts and promotions. These holidays bring a sense of festivity to them which enhances the experience customers have when making purchases. Online stores such as Tigmoo and Tigule have set aside specific days across the year to heavily discount their products. Game Stores and Shoprite among others have also taken strides to extend their promotions to as many people as possible by offering digital catalogues and brochures of their products whenever a promotion is on.

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