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Mobile vs. desktop orders: How Africa Orders Food Online


Africa’s leading food delivery marketplace hellofood released an info graphic showing how the emerging mobile market impacts online food delivery in Africa.

Worldwide, mobile penetration is constantly on the rise and in particular this rapid growth can be observed in emerging markets in many African countries. In 2014, the growth rate of mobile orders on hellofood reached 50% on the continent, facilitated by the increasingly affordable prices of smartphones ($40). This has a great impact on millions of people’s every-day lives.

Studies have shown that most Africans use their mobile phones predominantly to listen to music and interact with friends and relatives on social media. Taking pictures and browsing the web for information were also listed among the most common activities. But when it comes to mobile banking and payment, most users still seem slightly wary.

This caution was also observed by hellofood. However in 2014, the online delivery platform counted the same quantity of orders from mobile phones as from desktops: both accounted for 50% of the total. As mobile phone usage and thus mobile orders is strongly rising, the amount is expected to surpass desktop orders shortly.

Some countries are already mobile-first, for example Tanzania, where 79% of customers order food on their phones. Egypt (56%) and Ivory Coast (54%) have also shifted to mostly mobile orders. The other countries still make the majority of orders via desktop, with Ghana (69%) and Nigeria (61%) having the highest numbers of desktop orders.

In order to meet the customers’ reservations about online payment, many companies, (hellofood included) use cash-on-delivery services. This allows online companies to overcome issues of trust regarding internet businesses. Flexible payment methods are important, as such a huge percentage of business in Africa is still being done via cash-on-delivery to avoid the seemingly unsafe process of mobile banking. This payment method will remain predominant until the general perception changes along with the increase in mobile phone usage.

“Africa is a global leader in the development and adoption of mobile technology”, explains Joe Falter, CEO of hellofood, “and our strategy is centered around this. Mobile data speeds and handset capabilities have improved dramatically in the last 5 years, and hellofood is taking advantage of this to completely revolutionize the way people eat on the continent. It’s an incredibly exciting time to be working in mobile in Africa.”

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