Another $500M E-Commerce Platform Emerges -in Africa

Forbes
November 29,2014

While 140 million Americans were shopping over this Black Friday holiday here, millions more were shopping online on two huge retailers whose names you’ve probably never heard of: Jumia, headquartered in Lagos, Nigeria, and Souq.com, headquartered in Dubai, UAE.

Both of them are importing Black Friday to their regions. Souq.com reported it had more than 100,000 customers on Black Friday, sold more than 250,000 units and had 10 million visits.

“This is history in ecommerce in our region,” said a spokeswoman.

Jumia announced last week that it had received EUR 120 million in funding, giving it a valuation of EUR 445.0 million or about $550 million. It was running Black Friday sales too and by Saturday morning had pasted sold out signs on items, like the iPad mini and the Nikon coolpix. Some of the deals still on: 46% off a 32-inch Samsung TV, ₦37,490, down from ₦70,000 (about $400), and a Scanfrost cooker for ₦21,425, down from ₦23,000 (about $130). The Nigerian currency is the Naira.

These companies aren’t Amazons yet. For point of comparison, Walmart’s ecommerce site had 500 million visitors on Black Friday, the IBT reported. Yet they are bigger and more important than most U.S. consumers realize. CNBC called Souq the next Alibaba (I wrote the story, but not the headline). And Jumia’s growth rate is enough to satisfy the most demanding Silicon Valley VC: it was founded in 2012 “in a garage” and now, according to its web site, the Nigerian operation has more than 700,000 weekly visitors. The company operates in nine African countries — and competes with Souq in Egypt.

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