Lockdowns are also driving a move to online shopping in a continent where it has been slow to take off. The whole of Africa had only around 21 million online shoppers in 2017 — about the same number as Spain. That’s less than 2% of the world’s total, according to the latest UN data. Starting from a low base, e-commerce in Africa was on the rise before the pandemic. According to UN Conference on Trade and Development, the number of online shoppers on the continent has grown by 21% annually since 2014, higher than the world’s average growth rate of 12%. The launch of new platforms in response to Covid-19 has accelerated this growth, says head of e-commerce and digital economy UNCTA, Torbjörn Fredriksson. A recent study from market research firm Nielsen found that around 30% of online consumers in Nigeria, South Africa and Kenya shopped more online during the lockdown period.
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