E-commerce in Mauritius: Growth, Challenges and Solutions
Challenges and opportunities for e-commerce growth in Mauritius and Africa.
It has taken time arriving but e-commerce in Mauritius is now gaining serious traction.
According to Unctad’s B2C E-Commerce Index, Mauritians rank first in Africa in terms of readiness for online shopping.
Potential for e-commerce growth in Africa
The e-commerce market in Africa is massive, but the continent trails behind the rest of the world. This is largely because a significant percentage of Africa’s population doesn’t use the internet.
Nonetheless, there are more than 400 million internet users in Africa.
It’s the world’s second-largest internet-user population after China. So the potential for growth is enormous.
Postal service and secure internet servers boost business
Nigeria and South Africa follow Mauritius as the countries rated most ready for e-commerce.
Nigeria, which has the largest population in Africa, ranks second, due to a much-improved postal service.
South Africa is third, with a high number of secure internet servers per million people. This is an indication of the relatively high number of websites accepting online sales and payments.
Challenges for e-commerce in Mauritius
Alongside the readiness – and opportunities – for e-commerce in Mauritius are some challenges. These barriers are slowly being overcome.
Connectivity is key to success
Key to boosting e-commerce in Mauritius is good internet connectivity.
More than 62% of the Mauritian population is connected.
Unfortunately, low speed and bandwidth connections, plus the lack of infrastructure in more remote areas, are problems.
The good news is that in March 2019, CEB FibreNet, a subsidiary of the Central Electricity Board in Mauritius, awarded a contract to Israel’s ECI to expand and leverage the country’s existing fibre-optic backbone and to provide advanced telecom services and connectivity to the country as a whole.
Customers need safe payment options
E-commerce can’t happen if consumers don’t have the ability to pay.
But now more than 90% of Mauritians have a bank or mobile money account.
In the past few years, customers who previously had credit cards only can now use debit cards, which are more popular and reach more than 600,000 customers.
Payment security has also improved, with the State Bank of Mauritius, Visa and MasterCard installing secure technologies.
This had encouraged previously reluctant Mauritians to shop online.
Mauritius is a limited marketplace
Mauritius has a relatively small population of 1.27 million, which presents challenges for international e-commerce businesses.
Many of the large e-commerce retailers are not motivated to target the island nation directly. This can mean limited shipping, large customs fees and transport costs.
However, this may leave the path clear for domestic e-commerce in Mauritius. Local e-commerce businesses may fill demand-and-supply gaps that international businesses have neglected.
Key to the success of any e-commerce business is the ability to deliver your product to your customer.
Partnering with the right logistics company is key to success.
How businesses can overcome barriers
E-commerce can provide a safe and cheap way for small to medium businesses to grow because the initial investment may be smaller but there is the opportunity to reach many consumers.
Consider these factors for helping ensure e-commerce business success:
- establish a community of regular and reliable users
- build trust in your business
- know your merchandise
- maximise marketing opportunities
- provide easy and fast access to your site
- supply a safe and robust payment system
- offer prompt and reliable fulfilment and logistics.
Advantages of self-storage for e-commerce businesses
Multibox offers affordable, secure storage units that are ideal for meeting a wide range of storage needs for e-commerce businesses in Mauritius.
Our self-storage units are suitable for:
- storing retail stock, including inventory for e-commerce businesses
- storing documents and archival material
- storing promotional products
- storing spare business tools, equipment and office furniture.
Our units range in size from 2 m2 to 30 m2, and are clean, dry and fully secure. You lock your own unit and can access it when you choose.
We also offer affordable container hire. Our containers are ideal for adding storage space to business premises, and can be converted into fully functional office spaces.
Contact us for more information or to discuss your e-commerce storage needs in Mauritius.