Google Predicts Massive African E-commerce Growth By 2017

February 10, 2015

Google South Africa is seeing considerable growth in Africa’s ecommerce space and expects 2015 to be another growth year.

Luke Mckend, country director for Google South Africa, spoke at the eCommerce Africa Confex in Cape Town this week where he shared stats on how Africans are increasingly Googling with the intent to buy.

“We see a story of growth,” says Mckend. “Search is growing much faster than in mature internet economies.”

Despite 2014 being a “tough year” for online businesses, Google has seen a 37 percent increase in query volume for South Africa, 49 percent in Nigeria and 33 percent in Kenya.

“What’s particularly interesting is commercial intent queries, searches for purchasing information”. These are Google searches with the aim to find a price for a certain good, a shop where a service or product could be purchased.

Together with measuring what people are searching for, the more people are online the higher the propensity is for them to spend money.

With South Africa’s total query growth between 2013 and 2014 standing at 37 percent, the commercial intent query base has grown by 55 percent. That, Mckend says, indicates there’s a certain amount of maturity with buying online that was missing a few years ago.

In Nigeria the searches for purchases grew 39 percent.

Two trends that Mckend finds particularly interesting in South Africa’s ecommerce space, is the recent sock wars (as two strong competitors are selling socks online) and Netflorist’s attempt at selling fresh cupcakes.

“Who imagines there’s enough volume in the local online environment that there can be such a niche service? All of this change and experimentation is important to see how big the market is.”

Source: AFK Insider

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