As a pandemic ravaged the world last year and much of the world stayed stuck indoors, the existence of online shopping platforms became more important than ever, and Africa’s biggest e-tailer, Jumia, made a move that some might say happened a decade too late.
Amid the lockdown and movement restrictions, Jumia officially launched in South Africa in April 2020, though it was also revealed Jumia had been quietly testing the market since late 2019.
In the months leading up to this announcement, Jumia had pulled the plug in three non-performing African markets and shuttered some verticals as part of efforts to cut spending following a dismal run triggered by some nightmarish post-IPO trouble. So, the unveiling of Jumia South Africa was mostly received as a curious move, in more ways than one.
On one hand, the South African expansion was at odds with downsizing and stabilizing which seemed the overarching strategy at the time. On the other hand, it’s South Africa - a market that sort of already has its own Amazon.