79% of Kenyan Consumers are Shopping More Online Since the Start of Pandemic, Reveals Mastercard Study

  • Data top-ups (92%), clothing (67%) and computer equipment (56%) top the virtual shopping list in Kenya
  • Top learning experiences include cooking, dancing, learning a language, and mastering DIY projects
  • Social media has become an integral platform for connecting consumers to online businesses
  • Secure checkout experience recognized as fundamental for online shopping

A Mastercard study on consumer spending* has revealed that nearly four out of five (79%) surveyed consumers in Kenya are shopping more online since the onset of the COVID 19 pandemic.

Data, apparel, healthcare, banking and other FMCG (fast moving consumer goods) have seen the highest surge of online activity.  An overwhelming 92% of consumers in Kenya said they had paid for data top-ups online, 67% for clothing and over 56% said they had bought computers and other equipment.

And, with fewer opportunities to browse in the mall or on the high-street, social media has emerged as the main platform for finding the most attractive products and offers, with 78% and 56% of respondents saying they had discovered new sellers through Facebook and Instagram respectively. In fact, 80% of typical in-store bargain hunters said they spend hours searching different sites to find the best deals.

When it comes to paying for goods or services online, speed is a key factor for shoppers in Kenya, with 84% quoting this a major consideration when choosing a business to buy from.

The Rise of Virtual Experiences

While adapting to the ‘next normal’, people have been changing the way they consume entertainment and learn new skills.

In fact, 86% of Kenyan consumers said they were using the downtime as a positive learning experience. 71% of the respondents said they had taken a virtual cooking class, 30% have been mastering a new language and 43% have been learning to dance online.

51% of respondents have been educating themselves on Do-It-Yourself (DIY) projects, and just over a third (38%) said they have been taking make-up tutorials online.

It is clear from the research that shoppers are rapidly moving away from more traditional forms of retail and opting for contact-free and digital transactions. This, in turn, is presenting e-tailers and businesses in the Kenya, and across the region, with new challenges on how to best leverage the shift towards online shopping and deliver fast, convenient and secure transactions.

“In this post-COVID world, we are seeing an undisputable transformation in the way everyday transactions are being conducted. As people increasingly lean on e-commerce for their shopping, businesses who will remain relevant must ensure their customers continue to enjoy a safe, convenient and secure experience when shopping with them. At Mastercard, we are leveraging our network, insights, technology and partnerships with fintechs, banks and other key players across Kenya to support businesses as they make thee most of this new reality and optimize to thrive”, said Kari Tukur, Vice President, Products, Sub Saharan Africa, Mastercard.

Securing New Shopping Habits

With the rapid rise in online shopping, consumers are also becoming increasingly aware of the associated risks. And, with 77% of consumers now managing their banking needs online, 68% have said that a secure checkout was fundamental for a good shopping experience.

This is a key priority for Mastercard, as it is working to reduce online fraud and protect retailers from data breaches, while ensuring that consumers still enjoy a convenient and hassle-free payment experience.

To advance these efforts, Mastercard recently rolled out its patented tokenization technology across the region. Tokenization encrypts consumer data by replacing card numbers with digital tokens. This prevents improper usage at any other location and provides additional security and peace of mind for consumers and merchants alike, resulting in higher approval rates while minimizing online fraud.

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