September 16, 2020

BUSINESS: How COVID-19, Online Shopping Is Changing Consumer Behavior


Jumia Uganda CEO, Ron Kawamara

Online shopping has progressively been on the rise in the past few years but nothing seems to have brought it to the forefront like COVID-19 pandemic. A lot of shoppers have been forced to migrate online as a matter of safety and ease.

With restrictions on movement across the country being imposed early on in the year, online shopping swiftly became the logical solution to getting all your much-needed essentials. However, even after the lockdown, it was still a favoured option for shopping.

  1. The importance of convenience

The convenience of shopping online is unrivalled, and the growth of e-commerce both globally and in Uganda, is a clear indicator of this. According to a Statista report, in 2017, the growth of Global e-commerce reached around $2.3 trillion and is expected to hit $4.5 trillion in 2021.

For a lot of consumers reluctant to go downtown, consumers now have the luxury of ordering much-needed essentials with a few taps on their phone and having it delivered safely to their doorstep.

“Having an 8 – 5 job makes it difficult for me to find time to shop. Of course, there is always the weekend, but I would rather stay at home and rest. I shop online, so I don’t have to interrupt my resting time. I also don’t miss the supermarket queues, which are especially long over the weekend”, shared Angela Masudio, an online customer, who started in 2014.

A lot of Ugandans share Masudio’s sentiments towards shopping not just in supermarkets but downtown as well. The process is tedious and high risk in this current situation – which brings us to the second point

  1. Safety

In past years, safety for your health while shopping might not have been thought to many but now it’s every consumer’s first thought & priority. A lot of people are now wary of dealing with large crowds associated with the offline stores we know and love due to the high-risk factor of contracting COVID-19.
While a lot of stores have implemented measures to protect customers, the safety of online shopping continues to be unmatched. Online shopping platform Jumia Uganda for example introduced contactless delivery to make consumers feel safe. The initiative allows consumers to prepay for orders on the platform with Mobile Money and get it delivered without direct body contact or cash exchange with the delivery agent.

  1. Cost effectiveness & Affordability

The implications of the COVID-19 pandemic have been far and wide-reaching for everyone. It has forced everyone to rethink their spending and costs, both for businesses and consumers and that is where online marketplaces come in.

With online marketplaces, serve the purpose of offering consumers a platform with a wide assortment of products and services where they can compare prices and for our vendors a platform where they can showcase their products and offer consumers discounts.

“Customers are always on the lookout for affordable prices especially during this period. They will go for products that give them the best value without breaking the bank. That is where e-commerce platforms like us (Jumia) come in with competitive pricing, wide assortment & safe delivery. “Jumia Uganda CEO Ron Kawamara added.

As we embrace the new normal and the consequent effects COVID-19 has had and will continue to have on the economy, one way everyone can leverage and survive appears to be going digital, says experts

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