Mar 1, 2012

It's Time for m-commerce in Kenya

In the recent study conducted by InMobi, it was found that mobile phones influence buying decisions of Kenyan consumers more than any other media including traditional media such as TV, Newspapers and radio. In Q4 2011 during the period that the research was being conducted, InMobi served over 2 billion impressions in Kenya.

Another report by the Central Bank of Kenya shows that the number of mobile money users in Kenya increased to 19.2 million in 2011, with 15.21 million of them being M-PESA customers. 

Whereas P2P (person-2-person) transactions are still dominant, the report shows that business to persons and persons to business transactions are increasing. In the month of December 2011 alone, the amount transacted between individuals and businesses stood at sh54.53 Billion, which translates to roughly 46 per cent of total amount transacted that month.In that month, M-PESA moved sh116.6 Billion.

Through M-PESA, Safaricom has created a simple, trusted mobile payment ecosystem in Kenya that has been a key stepping stone to convincing consumers to shop through their mobile phones. This has created opportunities for retailers to ring up sales.

However, there are some people who do not shop through mobile phones because of concern about personal and financial information. 

Ben Lyon, VP of Business at Kopo Kopo- a company that has created technology for merchants in Kenya to accept mobile payments- recently wrote an article titled, “It’s safer to pay with M-PESA”. Ben points out that whenever you pay with M-PESA you only expose the details of a one-off transaction. Unlike with a debit card where a third party can initiate a transaction on your behalf, with M-PESA, you are the only one who can initiate a transaction.

The revolution is here. Mobile money and mobile internet are the new growth story for retailers in Kenya. I personally believe that in the future all consumer spending in Kenya will be influenced by mobile money and mobile internet.