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Potential Challenges for Social Commerce Services to Scale

A recent study by Caribou Data and the Partnership for Finance in a Digital Africa found that 92% of small and medium enterprises in Kenya use social commerce to carry out their businesses. Social commerce platforms are different from e-commerce marketplaces like Jumia and, which are websites with different products from different vendors showcased on the same platform, with the transactions being managed and processed by the website’s owner. A 2019 GeoPoll survey found that Facebook and Instagram ranked ahead of many e-commerce marketplaces in a list of the most used online shopping platforms in the continent. The high adoption of social media in Africa, which is enabled by increasing internet connectivity, has led to the rise of this type of e-commerce in the continent, whereby content sharing, messaging, and payment come together. Mobile technology is a key driver of social commerce in Africa, as the mobile phone is the primary tool people in the region use to access the internet and people tend to use mobile money to pay for goods and services in social commerce transactions.