Zimbabwe flag Zimbabwe: Buying and Selling

E-commerce in Zimbabwe


Internet access
As of December 2017, Zimbabwe had a population of 16.91 million people, out of which 6.8 million were Internet users, making the penetration rate 40.2%. Zimbabwe has been making advances in internet connectivity in recent years, but mobile internet is still the biggest platform for connectivity throughout the country. Smartphone penetration rate is estimated at 20-23% of the total population, according to TechZim. There is a significant urban-rural divide among Zimbabwean internet users due to fewer deployments of 3G and LTE in rural areas. As a result, a significant share of rural citizens don't have access to the Internet. However, the government aims to build 650 additional telecommunication towers in remote areas through the Universal Services Fund, which should help solve that urban-rural connectivity gap (Newsday). As of July 2018, the most popular browser in the country by market share was Chrome (39.82%), followed by Opera (26.59%), UC Browser (9.34%), Firefox (6.13%), Android (4.55%), and Safari (3.53%). As for search engines, Google (88.83%) dominated the market, followed by Bing (7.05%) and Yahoo (3.27%).
E-commerce market
E-commerce has not yet taken off in Zimbabwe, particularly due to low internet penetration, but also because the culture of online purchasing hasn't been diffused in the country. Additionally, local courier services tend to be expensive and they usually don't deliver to remote areas. The little e-commerce that exists in the country is local and limited to urban areas, and there's virtually no cross-border e-commerce in Zimbabwe. There are some social media shops in the country, mainly on Facebook and Instagram. Hammer & Tongues, a local online shop, revealed that two-thirds of its buyers are male, the highest number of visitors are in the 35-44 age group, and 90% of transactions on the platform were made from Harare and Bulawayo (Tech Zim). Zimbabwean consumers are adopting payment methods such as Ecocash and Zipcash to pay within and outside the country's borders (Marketers Association Zimbabwe). Even though e-commerce hasn't taken off in Zimbabwe yet, the market is expected to improve in the medium term, particularly among the wealthier classes of consumers.

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Latest Update: May 2024