Takealot gearing up for Amazon showdown

 ·10 Jan 2024

Naspers Ltd., Africa’s largest company by market value, is boosting investment into its South African online retailer ahead of Amazon.com Inc.’s entry into the country’s fast-growing e-commerce market. 

“We are investing a lot more into our businesses,” Phuthi Mahanyele-Dabengwa, chief executive officer of Nasper’s South African unit, said.

“We are well positioned toward being able to deal with whatever could be coming from Amazon.”

South Africa is the continent’s most developed economy and has a youthful population, together with one of the largest upper-middle-income markets in the region. Its potential is drawing increasing attention from retail giants like Walmart Inc. and Amazon, which will roll out online delivery there this year.

Naspers owns Takealot, South Africa’s top online retailer, and has been expanding its services to include one-hour delivery for ranging from phone chargers to toys, in anticipation of Amazon’s arrival. 

E-commerce only makes up about 4% of South African retail, presenting the opportunity to grow the market three to five times faster than in peer countries, Takealot Chief Executive Officer Mamongae Mahlare said last year.

Online retail sales in South Africa grew 30% to R55 billion in 2022, according to a study by market research firm World Wide Worx.

“It’s good for South Africa that Amazon is attracted to coming into the market,” Mahanyele-Dabengwa said.“ At Takealot I think we’re very well positioned. We know our market very, very well.”

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