Amazon to launch its online shopping service in South Africa
On Tuesday, Amazon announced its plans to introduce its online shopping service in South Africa next year, marking only the second African country, after Egypt, where the U.S. e-commerce giant will establish a dedicated local website.
South Africa will become Amazon's 21st country with a website bearing a local domain name. This move presents competition for a multitude of online retailers, primarily dominated by Naspers' Takealot.com. In a statement, Amazon stated, "The launch of Amazon.co.za in 2024 will provide independent sellers throughout the country an opportunity to rapidly launch, grow, and scale their businesses."
Amazon's store currently sees over 60% of its sales generated by independent sellers, the majority of which are small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). These sellers offer a wide array of products, competitive pricing, and significant convenience for consumers.
South Africa, often regarded as Africa's most advanced economy, has historically been viewed as a strategic entry point for companies looking to expand into the continent. Amazon's entry into the South African market aligns with this perspective. The launch coincides with a notable surge in online shopping in the country, driven by the pandemic's impact, which presented an opportunity for e-commerce to gain a foothold. Retailers responded by increasing their investments in the digital space. However, recent trends suggest that the peak of online sales has passed, as South Africans are returning to traditional shopping malls. Additionally, given South Africa's challenges, including sluggish economic growth, high unemployment rates, power supply issues, and transportation problems, analysts do not anticipate Amazon's entry to be a transformative game-changer for the company or a significant disruptor for the local industry.