Updated: Sep 14
Online Shopping Only Viable in Large Cities in the DRC Right Now.
While online shopping is a staple in many countries, it is not big in the Democratic Republic of the Congo due to limited internet connection. Only in the largest cities in the DRC is eCommerce popular because of this issue. The main cities with eCommerce are Kinshasa, Lubumbashi, Bukavu, Matadi, and Mbuij-Mayi. Also, the cash economy in the DRC makes online shopping even less of a viable option. A Kasi Insight survey found that even when purchasing a product online, the majority of those surveyed indicated they would opt to pay cash on delivery.
However, eCommerce is on the rise in the DRC with the promotion of mobile money payments by telephone companies. While the rate of mobile money is still low, it is increasing quickly, and more and more companies are accepting mobile money payments. All companies should accept mobile money payments in order to grow eCommerce in the DRC. The government should also invest in expanding internet connectivity across the country.
Men Are More Likely to Shop Online
A Kasi Insight survey on how often one makes a purchase online found that men are more likely to shop online than women. Only 1% of men surveyed indicated they have never bought anything online, while 8% of women indicated the same. This was reflected in the fact that 29% of men bought something online in the last month and 32% bought something 1-3 months ago, while for women the statistics were 25% and 29%, respectively. Furthermore, more women have not bought something online for at least 3 months than men.
Another survey found that the most common response to the question “why do you currently not shop online” is that there is no interest. Clothing and footwear for women often differ greatly by store, while it is more standard for men, which could explain why women are shopping online less than men in the Congo.
Footwear, Bags, and Accessories are the Most Often Bought Goods Online
According to a Kasi Insight survey of which products the Congolese tend to purchase online, the most common responses were footwear, bags, and accessories. Therefore, companies that do not sell those products may want to wait to promote online sales until a time that online shopping is more widespread in the DRC. Companies that do sell those products though, should focus on promoting the sale of footwear, bags, and accessories online. As shoes have to fit properly for people to wear them, companies that sell footwear should ensure they have good return policies with a long timeframe to return or exchange. Furthermore, another Kasi Insight survey found that one of the most important factors when online shopping for those surveyed is a greater variety of products. Therefore, companies should focus on having a large choice. Potentially even having more choice online than instore to boost online sales.
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