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Firm launches initiative to support small businesses in Kenya

By Sara Okuoro | June 19th 2020

Visa has launched its new Where You Shop Matters initiative that aims to champion and enable entrepreneurs in Kenya, while encouraging consumers to support small businesses.

Alongside a new SMB resource hub, Visa has published the COVID-19 CEMEA Impact Tracker highlighting the effect the novel coronavirus pandemic has had on commerce for consumers and small merchants in Kenya.

The findings of the report highlight increased anxiety with consumers staying away from all but essential retail.

65 per cent of consumers polled reported going grocery shopping less often, while 49 per cent reported taking public transportation less often. The impact of the pandemic still hasn’t made a big impact on transactions on public transport as nearly a third of the surveyed consumers saying that they still pay with cash when using public transport.

During the pandemic, many consumers in Kenya have started shopping online for the first time for essentials. 39 per cent of consumers surveyed say that COVID-19 has led to their first online grocery purchase, while 43 per cent have made their first online purchase from pharmacies.

Overall, the report points to a shift towards online commerce, with cash transactions being replaced by digital payments.

The study also found current conditions have served as a catalyst for food delivery services as 42 per cent of consumers polled saying that they made their food delivery purchase.

As consumers and merchants focus on safety and hygiene, contactless payments have also increased during the crisis with enabled merchants seeing an 88% growth in contactless usage post-COVID-19.

“The pandemic is impacting business everywhere. The findings of the COVID-19 CEMEA Impact Tracker suggest shoppers have changed how they shop and this is already having a major impact on how merchants do business. As consumers adapt to the current restrictions, many have changed how they shop and turned to online outlets for their shopping. These changes present challenges but also enormous opportunities for all merchants, including small businesses,” said Corine Mbiaketcha, General Manager for East Africa at Visa.

According to the report, 53 per cent of consumers admit to now spending less while also highlighting a trend that suggests shoppers have transformed how they shop.

Asked about spending habits, consumers are increasingly optimizing their trips with 73 per cent buying in bulk, making lists to avoid impulsive purchases, and buying non-perishable items to ensure fewer trips.

“This report shows how merchants who have moved online and adopted contactless payment systems have been able to better weather the adversity, with cash-only retailers most negatively impacted. It is vital that merchants, across the globe, understand consumer behaviors and adapt accordingly, eCommerce and digital solutions will undoubtedly enable growth,” Mbiaketcha added.

“The ‘Where You Shop Matters’ initiative aims to help support them and champion the local small businesses that serve as the backbone of our communities,” Mbiaketcha concluded.

The initiative will help support small businesses through the Visa Small Business Hub, a merchant platform providing tools and information on how to start, run and grow small businesses. The platform will also feature leading merchants who embody the passion and entrepreneurship of small businesses across Kenya. 

Covid 19 Time Series


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