Market analysts from Macro Advisors believe africraft will soon surpass craft as Africa’s leading e-commerce sector, with e-fibers and online shopping set to continue growing as the African continent’s economy matures.
Africa Crafts and Africavobs are Africa’s biggest e-tailers, according to market research firm Macro Advisers, with sales of $16.4 billion in 2016.
Africafresh, the e-retail chain based in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, is Africa’s fastest growing e-marketer, selling $6.5 billion in 2015.
“Africa’s craft market is poised to take off after several years of steady growth,” Macro Adviser’s head of research, Sami Alibhai, told CoinDesk.
“In fact, we believe the craft sector is poised for a massive growth as the continent’s economies mature.”
Crafts, e-tailing and other African products can be found on shelves at most African shops and boutiques.
Many African consumers also buy and sell traditional African products on the black market, such as traditional textiles, textiles made of charcoal and traditional jewellery.
In an e-sales industry, the market is ripe for disruption.
African crafts can be sold in smaller and smaller outlets in cities, which can then become more lucrative as they expand to larger markets and retail outlets.
“With the growth of craft e-markets, the opportunity to sell African products is going to be massive,” Alibai said.
The craft sector has a long history in Africa, but it was a new opportunity for Alibahi.
“I am a former trade union official and I had no experience in the ecommerce space.
I was not even an entrepreneur when I started,” he said.
“However, once I had a team of five people working on the eCommerce and eCommerce consulting side, I was able to quickly scale up to a billion-dollar e-store, and I was rewarded with a job.”
In the early 2000s, Alibahu was working on a new e-trade website for the European Union, and he met a young e-businesswoman named Sangeeta Saha who became his partner.
Alibhei started the company with Saha and two others, which was eventually renamed Africraft.
The e-shop launched in 2001, and in 2002, the company merged with a competitor called AfricaCraft.
“The partnership between Africcraft and AfricaCraft was so good because it gave us a huge competitive advantage in the African market,” Alibiai said, adding that the Africave brand is still very popular among consumers in Africa.
“But it is not enough to have a good e-warehouse.”
While e-trading is not entirely new in Africa as the country’s economy has been in slow-growth mode for decades, ecommerce is becoming a bigger and bigger part of the continent.
“There is a big demand for e-services in Africa,” Alibia said.
The market is growing fast, and Alibaha said that he expects the African Crafts to become the leading ecommerce platform in the region by the end of the year.
“Africacraft is going in the right direction,” Aliba said.
“[It is] a new kind of e-platform, and it is going further than traditional e-stores in the country.”