Amazon announces South African launch in 2024

South African e-commerce finally received the news - consumers have been waiting for. Amazon will launch its marketplace in South Africa in 2024. The marketplace will initially focus on local third-party sellers selling to consumers. E-commerce is 2.5% of total retail in South Africa, so why is Amazon launching in South Africa?

In 2024, South African e-commerce will change significantly as sellers can sell on a new platform that likely will, over time, grow dominant in terms of organic search listings for products. Customer service, free shipping, and ensuring that items are delivered reasonably fast will force change in a market dominated by Takealot, Google Shopping, and Shein.

It will be very interesting to note how Amazon deals with the Competition Commission’s 2023 findings on anti-competitive behavior from Takealot. It will be interesting to see how Amazon’s website will look in South Africa, as the buy box will have to show the cheapest price and the item that can be delivered the fastest. Takealot was ordered to put a firewall between its 1P and 3P business - do we see the same on in 2024?

Amazon will likely help local sellers move their products to other Amazon regions, as cross-border commerce will likely boost sellers and Amazon. I believe that moving goods from South African sellers to other Amazon locations is high on Amazon’s priorities as foreign exchange rates benefit Amazon in developing markets such as India, the Middle East, and Brazil.

This one hits close to home for you!

What do you think their chances are?

I’m reaching out to my extended family on this… (Hirsch’s).

I think Amazon’s impact is directly linked to how they handle the Competition Commission recommendations for marketplaces. My take is that they will quickly become a big deal for sellers and consumers.

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I think retailers such as Hirsch’s which has stores and online businesses will be just fine. Why? because customers still want to go to the mall and stores.