E-Commerce Marketplaces

E-commerce marketplaces are digitally enabled platforms that connect multiple buyers and sellers, allowing buyers to search for products and purchase them online. These marketplaces are diverse in that they can be large platforms that offer products across several sales categories, such as Jumia, which has gained a large footprint in sub-Saharan Africa, or focus only on specialized categories, such as India’s BigHaat, which specifically focuses on agricultural inputs. While technology companies own most of these platforms, some are run by agribusinesses and other private enterprises or associations. Most of these services are under five years old, operate in only one country and, particularly in the agriculture sector, serve fewer than 100,000 producers. During the COVID-19 pandemic, many marketplaces have grown dramatically and show no signs of waning as a way for market actors to buy and sell products. While e-commerce marketplaces are growing in Asia (especially India and China), growth is slower in sub-Saharan Africa, partially due to high transaction costs related to transport and delivery.

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