Buy now, pay later

Jumia & BNPL: Africa’s Biggest e-Tailer Quietly Joins The Fray

By  |  February 24, 2022

In what was a mixed bag of record growth across all of its usage metrics but mostly marginal improvement in the business essentially, Jumia’s newly released fourth-quarter and full-year 2021 report also served up some other interesting developments beyond the numbers.

“The fourth quarter of 2021 marked meaningful acceleration and growth momentum with new records reached across all usage metrics. Quarterly Active Consumers, Orders and GMV reached all-time highs of 3.8 million, 11.3 million and USD 330 M respectively, increasing by 29 percent, 40 percent and 20 percent year-over-year respectively,” commented Jeremy Hodara and Sacha Poignonnec, Co-Chief Executive Officers of Jumia.

Away from the interesting figures, the co-CEOs further reiterated that the performance further fuels Jumia’s confidence to continue investing in consumer acquisition and education in the form of marketing and consumer incentives to drive e-commerce adoption. And it would appear that Jumia considers the emerging Buy Now Pay Later (BNPL) economy in Africa as a means to that end.

It had first emerged that Africa’s prominent e-commerce retailer, Jumia, was testing a ‘financing plan’ service in 2020. But the rumours about a full launch of the service – which involves enabling customers to take ownership of goods upfront while splitting the payment for the goods into small instalments over a period of months – remained grapevine gossip. Also, a Jumia official told WeeTracker last year that Jumia had shelved those plans for the time being.

However, in its latest results, Jumia confirmed it further expanded the range of consumer finance products available to its consumers during the fourth quarter of 2021, as part of the Black Friday campaign.

The general merchandise e-tailer which is operational in 11 African countries revealed it had established a partnership with valU in Egypt, a known BNPL fintech player in an emerging but encouraging local market.

As part of this partnership, valU functions as a payment method integrated within the JumiaPay checkout, allowing consumers to pay through interest-free instalments over 9 months. Also, Jumia says it is currently working on expanding the range of tenures for the BNPL instalments.

Furthermore, as part of the Black Friday campaign, Jumia revealed it partnered with 7 different banks in Egypt to offer instalments to consumers, while it also rolled out instalments for the first time in Nigeria and Kenya in partnership with banks. This would imply that Jumia is hot on the BNPL trail, in keeping with an emerging trend across the continent.

In Africa, the BNPL business is progressing relatively quietly but quite remarkably. In South Africa where BNPL can be thought to be developing faster than anywhere else on the continent, the likes of Payflex, PayJustNow, Mobicred, and MoreTyme (by the digital-only bank, TymeBank) are helping customers and merchants finance purchases.

Elsewhere, CDcare, Carbon Zero, CredPal, M-KOPA, Shahry, and Sterling Bank’s AltMall/AltDrive are offering variations of BNPL products in Nigeria; Shahry is finding its feet in Egypt; while Kenya is seeing similar endeavour in the form of M-KOPA and Safaricom’s Lipa Mdongo Mdongo service.

However, the BNPL scene remains largely isolated and lukewarm in Africa despite obvious benefits, as inadequate customer education and slow adoption stalls progress. Nevertheless, it’s clearly still early days but the BNPL movement in African tech continues to show potential.

Featured Image Courtesy: Dignited

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