Last week, Nigeria was declared to be the most important market for eCommerce in the entire continent of Africa.
The report alluded to the high growth and adoption of shopping malls and modern retail system across the country. As it stands, Nigeria now has over 50 shopping malls across the country with over 70% situated within the Southern part of the country.
This is a no-brainer as Nigeria has always been the number one country in the entire African continent with the highest economic potentials for investors to latch on.
It is also instructive that the report is spot-on to spot the linkage between the rise of shopping malls and opportunities for eCommerce. This was the similar scenario in Europe and in the United States before the rise of Amazon and other eCommerce companies.
One fact the research failed to mention was whether the rate of growth experienced by eCommerce startups was close to the potentials in the market. This is negative given the dire positions of virtually all the eCommerce ventures in Nigeria.
However, for obvious reasons, Nigeria has continued to underperform below behind every analyst predictions and targets. For many years, Nigeria’s infrastructure capital (tangible and intangible) has been developing behind the required benchmark. As opposed to its rival, South Africa where basic supporting structures are continually-improving, many states in Nigeria are still in their subsistence level to support modern retail let alone a viable eCommerce sector. To realize potentials in Nigeria’s eCommerce market, the infrastructure of power, transportation (diversified), processes, policies and talents must not only develop but in a sustainable way.
Many eCommerce companies went ahead to burn millions of dollars (billions of Naira), because the superstructure upon which they built their system was not only weak but some mostly a non-existence.
As at this moment, Nigeria’s eCommerce sector is responsible for less than 0.1% of total retail sales across the country. The current recession which further disrupted the revenue of eCommerce companies has further diminished these statistics.
Nigeria will only realise the abundant potential in eCommerce when the sine qua non is in place.