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E-Commerce penetration in Kenya ramping up travel

By Fredrick Obura | Published Fri, February 9th 2018 at 12:04, Updated February 9th 2018 at 12:22 GMT +3

NAIROBI, KENYA: Digital savvy population and high internet and device penetration are among key factors driving electronic commerce in Kenya.

This has had significant impact on the travel industry, in part because of the growing confidence in e-commerce sites, such as online travel agents.

The developments have brought the efficiency often sought after by travelers who otherwise are overly occupied and thus have little time to research their destinations and make a booking of either the hotel or flight online.

These travelers’ resolve and ability to purchase services on the move has, as a result, increased the reliance on mobile devices, thus giving service providers who invest on easy-to-use apps a rising edge.

Speaking during the Kenya Travel Awards in Nairobi, Jumia Travel’s Country Manager Cyrus Onyiego noted that in Kenya, “mobile bookings are on an upward trajectory, standing at 44 percent in the company’s third quarter of 2017 report, as compared to 41 percent in the second quarter of the same year”.

He however emphasised on the need for effective mobile-centric marketing strategies and customer engagement by service providers including hotels, a tactic Mr Onyiego believes will “increase trust on the otherwise deemed ‘risky’ online businesses”.

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In his presentation, the country manager also highlighted other trends in the Kenyan travel market, with a majority who book via the travel agency still opting for the 3-star hotels (34 percent). Furthermore, business and leisure travelers make up 44 per cent and 88 per cent of total bookings made on Jumia Travel respectively.

With the leading internet penetration in Africa at over 80 percent according to the Jumia Travel Kenya Hospitality report 2017, the growth of e-commerce in the country is bound to continue in 2018. Kenyans will therefore travel more locally, leading to a boom in domestic tourism and more so in online booking trends. Consequently, the time is still ripe for retailers to advance and incorporate fully consumer centric approaches.

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