May 01, 2012
Nairobi, Kenya, 1 May 2012 – The latest MasterCard Worldwide Online Shopping Survey has revealed a strong positive sentiment towards online shopping in Kenya, with 71% of Kenyans who had shopped online saying that they were extremely or very satisfied with their overall shopping experience.
“Kenyan online shoppers believed there was a wider purchase choice online rather than offline, that shopping online was extremely convenient and easy, and that most goods were cheaper online that they were offline,” says Charlton Goredema, Vice President, Market Manager, East Africa and Indian Ocean Islands, MasterCard Worldwide.
The most popular online shops for Kenyans were those that offered music downloads, books, CDs, DVDs, digital entertainment content and computer software for sale, with airline websites capturing the highest value of purchases.
The survey, which serves as a benchmark that measures consumers’ propensity to shop online, was conducted by MasterCard in 25 markets from 5 December 2011 to 6 January 2012 and involved 12,500 consumers aged between 18 and 641 who were asked questions about their online shopping habits. MasterCard has conducted the survey in other markets since 2009; however this was the first time that Kenya was included. The survey and its accompanying reports do not represent MasterCard financial performance.
Goredema, explaining why MasterCard conducted this survey in Kenya, says “MasterCard is spearheading the drive towards a cashless society globally, with a focussed strategy on Africa, where cashless transactions will assist in improving the lives of the continent’s people by removing the risks and expenses associated with carrying and handling cash.”
“Shopping online is just one way that Kenyans can reduce their dependence on cash payments, and MasterCard conducted this research to identify the factors that influence Kenyans’ sentiments towards online shopping,” he continues.
Goredema notes that 71% of those who have made online purchases did so using a credit card. “Using a MasterCard credit or debit card allows customers to make payments quickly and efficiently on a large number of secure websites – both Kenyan and international. We are working tirelessly to grow the number of online retailers in the region who accept payment via a MasterCard card.”
The research also explored the reasons why a majority (86%) of Kenyans do not currently shop online. Of this group, 38% raised their concerns about the time it would take to get items delivered to them following a purchase, and an additional 38% were not sure that making transactions online was secure or safe.
“Online security is a priority for MasterCard, and we work closely with our customer financial institutions and retailers in Kenya to ensure that MasterCard cardholders can have the highest level of confidence when shopping online, and that retailers can gain greater assurance about the identity of the customer completing a purchase,” says Goredema.
“For example, MasterCard SecureCode enhances the security already in place on your MasterCard card with a secret code that protects against unauthorised use when shopping online at participating retailers. Using it is as easy as entering your PIN at an ATM,” he continues.
Interestingly, 52% of Kenyans who had made an online purchase in the last three months had done so from an international website. There were however clear indications in the survey results of the willingness of Kenyans to shop locally with large percentages of online shoppers saying that they believe that buying through a Kenyan website would be cheaper (42%), more convenient (32%) and faster (32%).
“These findings are an obvious note for entrepreneurs that Kenyans who are shopping online see the value in purchasing locally, which creates a considerable business opportunity for them to enter this exciting retail sector now, while it is still in an early stage of growth,” says Goredema.
Another main finding of the survey was that 93% of respondents were equipped with the ability to access the Internet through their mobile phones, and that 38% of these respondents had either recently made a purchase online using their mobile phone or were planning to do so within the next six months.
“While the world of online shopping may be relatively new to Kenyans, the world of mobile phone ownership certainly is not.” said Goredema. “MasterCard believes there is a huge opportunity for online shopping growth in Kenya utilising mobile phones, and we are actively working with Kenyan banks and other business organisations to advise on the development of mobile payment solutions.”
Most recently, MasterCard in collaboration with Airtel and Standard Chartered Bank, launched PayOnline in Kenya, the world's first virtual card that operates off a mobile wallet. “PayOnline is a payment solution that makes it possible for Kenyan Airtel clients to shop online, even if they do not have a bank account,” says Goredema. “This is just one way that MasterCard products can extend financial inclusion to even more Kenyan citizens.”
“Our vision at MasterCard is to create a world beyond cash,” concludes Goredema. “Shopping online is becoming increasingly popular globally, as consumers realise the benefits of shopping from the comfort of their office or home, or with the convenience of their Internet-enabled mobile phone. The results of this survey show that, while online shopping in Kenya is still in the early stages of growth, the country’s citizens are beginning to experience firsthand the considerable benefits that it can offer.”
The MasterCard Worldwide Index suite in Asia/Pacific, Middle East and Africa includes the long-running MasterCard Worldwide Index of Consumer Confidence, as well as the MasterCard Worldwide Index of Women’s Advancement, Online Shopping, Index of Financial Literacy, and the Index of Global Destination Cities. In addition to the Indices, MasterCard’s research properties also include a range of consumer surveys including Ethical Spending and a series on Consumer Purchasing Priorities (covering Travel, Dining & Entertainment, Education, Money Management, Luxury and General Shopping).
MasterCard also regularly releases Insights reports providing analysis of business dynamics, financial policies and regulatory activities in the Asia/Pacific, Middle East and Africa region. Over 80 Insights reports have been produced since 2004.
MasterCard (NYSE: MA), www.mastercard.com, is a global payments and technology company. It operates the world’s fastest payments processing network, connecting consumers, financial institutions, merchants, governments and businesses in more than 210 countries and territories. MasterCard’s products and solutions make everyday commerce activities – such as shopping, traveling, running a business and managing finances – easier, more secure and more efficient for everyone. Follow us on Twitter @MasterCardNews, join the discussion on the Cashless Conversations Blog and subscribe for the latest news.