Beautiful shopping woman smiling and holding bags; Shutterstock ID 150260165; PO: aol; Job: production; Client: drone
Beautiful shopping woman smiling and holding bags; Shutterstock ID 150260165; PO: aol; Job: production; Client: drone

Mercy Ngungi, a bubbly 23-year-old Kenyan youth, was initially skeptical about the hyped magic accompanying online shopping until recently when she discovered that its thrills, convenience and safety are unrivaled.

The communications graduate from a local university is currently an avid fan of Kenya’s mushrooming online retail firms that have reshaped shopping while striking a powerful chord with the country’s tech-savvy youth.

During an interview with Xinhua, Ngungi confessed that her unquenchable appetite for online shopping has shocked her relatives and friends.

“My initial resistance to online shopping was based on myths and misinformation but now I am a fully converted having realized its benefits are immense,” said Ngungi.

Her enthusiasm for online shopping intensified late last year when she ordered for a Christmas dress and shoes from swanky clothing line that delivered them at her doorstep on time.

“I could not believe my eyes when somebody from a courier service knocked at my door to deliver the stylish dress and open shoes I had just ordered online from a new clothing line in town,” Ngungi told Xinhua.

Early this year, Ngungi purchased a Huawei phone from Kilimall, a thriving online retail giant owned by Chinese investors that drew her attention last fall when the company embarked on a publicity blitz to woo customers.

“It was during Black Friday in November last year when I learnt about discounted prices of electronic gadgets like phones and laptops at Kilimall. I saved enough to buy this slick Huawei phone and plans to order for a laptop a few months from now,” said Ngungi.

She is among a burgeoning population of young Kenyans who have abandoned brick and mortar shopping malls thanks to the irresistible appeal offered by their online rivals.

As Kenya’s e-commerce sector grows by leaps and bounds in recent times, it has unleashed multiple benefits to investors and consumers alike.

Pundits hailed supportive infrastructure, friendly regulations and high digital literacy for the rapid growth of online retail sector in the East Africa’s largest economy.

“There is no doubt the online retail market in this country has a promising future given its wholesome embrace by urban youth with disposable income,” said Mike Ouma, an ICT analyst

Kenya’s leading online retail firms that include Kilimall, OLX and Jumia are competing ferociously for a slice of the pie in the booming industry.

Consumers have nevertheless relished this cut-throat competition by online shopping malls since they are guaranteed of discounted prices and quality service.

Charles Murage, a 31-year-old jazz artist and event’s organizer, admitted his love for online shopping, which he described as pleasurable, hassles-free and cheaper.

“Imagine slouching on the couch during the day only to click an order for pizza which is delivered at breakneck speed. This is the future we all dreamt of and hope there will be no relapse to the bygone era of enduring long queues in the shopping malls,” said Murage.

The widely-traveled youngster has for the last three years been purchasing electronic gadgets and clothes through online platforms.

“Online retail firms have an extra-ordinary ability to connect directly to consumers. They are highly adaptable and always deliver quality service,” Murage said.

Kenya has been a regional hub for investors in online retail sector thanks to higher Internet connectivity in major cities and rural towns.

An economic survey released by Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS) in 2015 revealed that 54.8 percent of the country’s population or 22.3 million people were connected to the Internet.

Elsewhere, a survey conducted by America’s research firm, Pew Research Centre ranked Kenya second after South Africa in terms of Internet penetration in sub-Saharan Africa.

The survey revealed that four out of ten Kenyan adults had reliable access to Internet in any given day through smart phones, laptops or computers.

Experts agreed that investments in broadband infrastructure that has accelerated lately alongside availability of cheaper smart phones will fuel growth of e-commerce in Kenya.

“Rapid expansion of fiber optic alongside cheap data bundles provided by telecommunication giants has made it easier for Kenyans to shop online,” remarked Steve Umidha, a financial analyst. Enditem

Source: Xinhua/