South Africa's e-commerce heats up with Amazon's arrival

South Africa's e-commerce scene just got a major player as Amazon launched its online marketplace this week. This arrival puts Amazon head-to-head with established leaders like Takealot, Temu and Makro.

South Africa's e-commerce heats up with Amazon's arrival
Amazon in South Africa

South Africa's e-commerce scene just got a major player as Amazon launched its online marketplace this week. Announced last October, this arrival puts Amazon head-to-head with established leader Naspers-backed Takealot.

Takealot CEO Mamongae Mahlare responded positively, stating last year, "It’s a great compliment to Takealot...and our customers in South Africa... It demonstrates that we have built something..."

According to Statista, Africa's e-commerce market is expected to nearly double in value, reaching $72 billion by 2025, up from $38 billion in 2021. South Africa is at the forefront of this boom.

Online sales in South Africa's shopping scene skyrocketed by 66% from 2019 to 2020, reaching over $1.8 billion. Clothing and apparel reign supreme as the top e-commerce category, followed by online entertainment, according to the International Trade Administration. Interestingly, SimilarWeb, a web traffic analytics website, currently ranks Amazon as the fourth most visited online marketplace in South Africa, trailing Takealot, Temu and Makro (owned by Walmart-owned Massmart).

Analysts predict fierce competition as both giants battle for dominance. Amazon promises a compelling shopping experience, echoing Robert Koen, Amazon's Sub-Saharan Africa managing director: "We offer excellent value, a wide range of local and international products, and a hassle-free shopping experience". Shoppers can expect fast delivery, convenient pickup points, and excellent customer support, with even free delivery on their first order, according to a statement seen by

Beyond competition, Amazon is making a social impact. It has partnered with goGOGOgo, a Johannesburg non-profit empowering grandmothers (GOGOs) raising children. Shoppers can choose unique gift bags, as Jane Simmonds, goGOGOgo founder, explains: "Partnering with Amazon is a huge opportunity...allows us to expand our reach and improve the lives of GOGOs and the children they care for." These bags, made from recycled plastic and hand-sewn by GOGOs, support local businesses and generate income for these grandmothers. This partnership improves the lives of GOGOs and their families, many of whom rely on them for childcare.

Supporting small businesses is another key focus for Amazon. Over 60% of its global sales come from independent sellers, providing a vast product selection and convenience for shoppers. The South African Minister of Small Business Development, Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams, echoed this sentiment: "The heartbeat of our small business enterprises measures the health of our country’s economy... We welcome companies that provide opportunities for local sellers and entrepreneurs to grow their businesses..." She looks forward to collaborating with Amazon to unlock these opportunities, creating jobs and contributing to economic growth.

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