Namibia flag Namibia: Buying and Selling

E-commerce in Namibia


Internet access
The number of Internet users reached nearly 800,000, accounting for 31% of the total population in Namibia. While this percentage puts Namibia below the African average (35.2%, Internet World Stats), Internet penetration rate is growing rapidly in the country (37% annual growth between 2017 and 2018, Hootsuite Survey). Internet access is predominantly mobile as in most other Sub-Saharan African countries, with 732,800 active mobile Internet users. Nearly 30% of web traffic comes from desktops and laptops compared with 66% for mobile phones. Nevertheless, the share of web traffic from desktops and laptops grew 45% year-on-year whereas that of mobile fell by 14%.
E-commerce market
E-commerce is in a nascent stage in Namibia and many online shopping platforms that were launched were short-lived due to outdated content and lack of sophisticated and secure payment methods. In fact, many Namibians do not trust websites or feel safe to provide credit card details online. The Namibian government has been working on an electronic transaction and cybercrime bill since 2017; however, the draft bill has been postponed repeatedly due to the public outcry over surveillance concerns. The lack of legal framework brings major limitations to electronic payments and consequently international services such as PayPal do not allow Namibians to receive money. Buy Online Namibia is the largest online retail store in the country and the Pan-African Jumia is among the most popular e-commerce websites. The local online store Zaleka is also quite popular for clothing.
E-commerce sales and customers
Namibia has one of the smallest consumer bases in Africa, which has discouraged many international or regional actors in the e-commerce industry from entering the market. The development of the e-commerce has been further hampered by the massive size of the country, which constitutes a major logistics challenge.
While 59% of Namibians have a bank account, only 8% of them have a credit card (Hootsuite Survey 2018). The number of online shoppers is estimated at around 76,000, accounting for 3% of the population. Men are slightly more active than women in online shopping as 4% of the male population make online payments against 3% of the female population. E-commerce could grow through introduction of payment via wallet accounts as nearly 30% of Namibians own at least one type of digital wallet (FinScope Financial Inclusion Survey 2017).
Social media
Namibians are less active on social media than users living in neighbouring Botswana and South Africa. According to a Hootsuite survey, 0.62 million Namibians, which represent 24% of the total population, are active social media users (7% year-on-year increase). The Namibian firm Ohlthaver & List offers a similar estimate of 0.63 million. Most Namibians access their accounts via mobile (22% of total population, 10% year-on-year increase). Facebook is by far the most popular social media in Namibia with nearly all social media users having an account on this platform. Instagram has a better penetration rate than in Botswana and South Africa, with 0.21 million Namibians active users.

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Latest Update: May 2023

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