American eBay sellers will soon gain access to Africa’s biggest consumer markets. This comes via a new partnership between the U.S. e-commerce giant and online shopping startup MallforAfrica.com, set to go live July 2016. The arrangement will launch a new “eBay Powered by MallforAfrica dedicated platform”, said eBay Business Development Director Fernando Saiz. “The platform will enable inventory from all eBay U.S. individual and business sellers with a 300+ star rating to be purchased by buyers in Nigeria and Kenya.”
Sales on the Ebay.MallforAfrica.com site will begin “first in Nigeria, then Kenya, followed by Ghana, all in 2016,” confirmed MallforAfrica CEO Chris Folayan, noting additional African countries will follow. Both parties confirmed the partnership will be a financial, marketing, and logistics arrangement only–eBay has not taken any equity stake in MallforAfrica.
eBay’s collaboration with MallforAfrica solves a number of challenges global consumer goods companies face when entering many African markets. With a unique payment and delivery system, its proprietary platform serves as a digital broker and logistics manager between U.S. retailers and African consumers. MallforAfrica has backing from UK private equity firm Helios Investment Partners and partnerships with companies such as clothier Hawes and Curtis and department store Macy’s. “The experience will be seamless for a U.S. based seller and will feel as though they are selling to a US buyer,” said eBay’s Saiz.
The eBay/MallforAfrica partnership marks continued outside confidence in Africa’s retail markets and the value proposition for African e-commerce. The continent’s consumer spending is estimated to exceed $1.4 trillion annually by 2020 and online sales are expected to top $75 billion by 2025, according to McKinsey’s Global Institute.
Nigeria has become a test-bed for e-commerce startups attracted to its dual distinctions as Africa’s most populous country and largest economy. Even recent tough economic times, connected to a global drop in commodities prices and China’s business slump (one of Nigeria’s major trading partners) have not significantly influenced MallforAfrica’s sales, according to CEO Chris Folayan.
“It’s actually helped us in a way,” he said, noting less Nigerians traveling overseas and recent government controls on consumer dollar spending abroad have drawn more consumers to the site. Nigerians are known for purchasing a high volume of brand name goods internationally. They actually spend more at London’s Heathrow Airport than any other nationality.