Mobile data access the differentiator in e-commerce

According to the latest Sandvine report on the use of internet in Africa, technologies such as WAP are experiencing less usage due to the explosion of smarphones and apps on the continent.

The Communication Authority of Kenya (CA) details that 99% of internet access is through the mobile phone in Kenya. These trends show that e-commerce consumption might have a bigger outlet on the mobile broadband.

Lindsay Britz, marketing manager at Magic Software SA, links mobile broadband and e-commerce.

“The African region is also witnessing one of the strongest increases in mobile data usage in the world, predicted to double between 2014 and 2015, and with a 20-fold increase by the end of the decade,” she told ITWeb Africa.

“Mobile banking in South Africa, Kenya, Nigeria, Rwanda and Tanzania is supporting a fast developing m-commerce sector, enabling mobile transactions, remittances and payments.”

According to BuddeCom report released in July 2014, “This growth in traffic is being spurned on by the maturing social media sector, data-rich applications and mobile video. The region is also hosting a new wave and locally built cheap smartphones which is making such devices more readily available to a larger proportion of the population.”

Even though currently the shopping statistics in countries like South Africa are not encouraging, Britz remains adamant that it will grow in the near future.

“Online transactions make up less than 1% of the overall retail market in South Africa according to Ernst & Young. Although this is extremely low when compared with the UK where online shopping constitutes 14% of retail sector purchases, this number is escalating at an impressive year-on-year rate according to latest MasterCard Worldwide Online Shopping Survey,” she added.

Britz encouraged online merchants to have ready tools such as enterprise resource planning software to support the growing number of people searching for goods and services online.

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