Jumia IPO gives a peek under the hood of African e-commerce

As had been widely anticipated (see our previous story), Jumia is to list on the New York Stock Exchange. Founded in 2012 by Berlin-based Rocket Internet (which currently holds a 20.6% stake), Jumia is part-owned by telecommunications companies MTN (29.7%) and Millicom International Cellular (9.6%), insurance company AXA (5.8%), and alcoholic drinks giant Pernod Ricard (5.1%), among others.
According to the prospectus that Jumia filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission on March 12th, it earned revenue of €131 million in 2018, up 38.9% on the previous year, and now has more than 5,000 employees. However, its after-tax loss also widened, rising by 3%, to €170 million.  63% of its 2018 revenue derived from the sale of goods (down from 72% in 2017), with most of the remainder coming from third-party sales i.e. other vendors using Jumia as a platform. This group numbered 81,000 in 2018.
In 2018, West Africa (Cameroon, Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana, Nigeria, and Senegal) accounted for just over half (50.6%) of Jumia’s sales, compared with figures of 29.0%, 11.8%, and 8.2% for North Africa (Algeria, Egypt, Morocco, and Tunisia), South Africa, and East Africa (Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania, and Uganda), respectively.
Jumia claims to have four million active customers (those who placed an order with it during 2018) and to have handled around 13 million packages over the same period. Its largest categories were home and living, men’s fashion, phones, and services, such as food delivery and hotel bookings (each accounting for 14% of total sales in 2018), followed by beauty and fragrances (13%), women’s fashion (11%), electronics (10%), and FMCG (8%). The fact that men’s fashion accounts for a larger share of its sales than female fashion is striking, as is the relatively high figure for FMCG.
A survey conducted by Sagaci Research on behalf of Jumia in four of its largest markets (Côte d’Ivoire, Kenya, Morocco, and Nigeria) during February 2019 found that the brand was recognised aided (i.e. prompted) by 81% of consumers, while 62% of “non-online shoppers” said they would consider using it during the coming 12 months. 88% of consumers who had made a purchase on it during the 12 months prior to survey said they had made a repeat purchase, while 89% said they would recommend it to a friend.
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