Jumia sees competition from startups in growing African e-commerce market

One of Africa’s leading e-commerce firms, Jumia Technologies AG, is facing a new set of competition from startups in the Africa e-commerce and logistics market, after the coronavirus pandemic increased the demand for online deliveries.

The Co-Chief Executive Officer of Jumia, Sacha Poignonnec revealed that the restrictions and lockdown, which were implemented by various countries as part of measures to contain the spread of the coronavirus, have attracted more entrepreneurs into the e-commerce business. He, however, demonstrated good sportsmanship, saying:

“Greater competition is to be welcomed, given there are still so few people in the region that transact online. I would rather grow the market than just try to take everything.’’

Nairametrics had reported that Jumia reported a loss after tax of 37.6 million euros (N17 billion) in the second quarter of 2020. E-commerce firms were expected to be one of the major beneficiaries of the coronavirus pandemic as consumers, during the lockdown, moved towards online transactions to meet their essential needs.

However, the losses were an improvement on the 66.7 million euros that was reported for the corresponding period in 2019. Apparently, the firm is trying to dig itself out of a massive loss hole.

The Lagos-based online market place, which is listed on the New York Stock Exchange, was one of the pioneers of internet trading in sub-Saharan Africa. Unfortunately, the company’s performance falls behind that of its peers around the world due to various challenges ranging from poor internet connection to now competition.

Jumia investors have experienced a couple of twists and turns since the stock debuted in New York last year. Allegations of corruption, persistent losses in the Nigerian business and a damning short-seller report contributed to an initial share-price slump. But the coronavirus outbreak has helped to greatly increase market value this year.

It was reported earlier that one of the early investors in Jumia, MTN Group Ltd, was considering selling its stake in the business. Reacting to this, Poignonnec disclosed that Jumia may offer MTN’s shares as part of a potential new equity offer within the next 3 years if the Johannesburg-based firm decides to sell.

He also revealed that expanding into food delivery business has helped to increase Jumia’s sales and footprint in its African markets, which are led by Nigeria. This includes grocery and pharmacy orders as well as restaurants takeaways.

The logistics business unit of Jumai is another revenue stream as it is also now open to third parties who wish to use the firm’s network of drivers to deliver packages.

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