Amazon’s New South Africa Store is its First on the Continent

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Key Takeaways

  • Global e-commerce retailer confirms its first launch in Africa, but Prime is not included.
  • Amazon will face stiff competition in an established market with big local players.
  • Customers can buy from 20 product categories, with home delivery and 3,000 pickup points on offer.

Amazon has confirmed its first launch on the African continent with the highly-anticipated arrival of, bringing its online marketplace to South Africa.

Two years in the making, Amazon will now challenge major players in the local e-commerce space such as Takealot, Makro, and Bob Shop.

Notably, the South Africa launch will not include Prime, meaning no media services and no free shipping, at least not yet. 

Amazon is set to provide customers with access to 20 product categories including consumer electronics, sporting equipment, toys, and home, with the option to use 3,000 pickup points in addition to same-day and next-day delivery. The company even accounts for local differences in its shop, such as a category for “loadshedding” products that help deal with South Africa’s scheduled power outages.

Shoppers get free delivery on their first order and for subsequent purchases over R500 (around $27), with order status updates coming through WhatsApp. 

As reported by TechCrunch, Amazon’s entry to the South African market is an interesting one as there are already several strong competitors. However, they appear to be welcoming the landing of a global giant as a signal of confidence in the strength of the local e-commerce industry and the established, robust nature of its infrastructure and supply chain. 

In that regard, South Africa differs from other African countries which might be more fertile for market leadership but limited by other significant challenges.

Amazon had set out designs on moving into South Africa and Nigeria, but there’s here is still no movement on the latter despite its originally slated February 2023 debut. South Africa was delayed twice before now.

Amazon’s arrival into the South African market intensifies competition into what is an R55 billion (~$3 billion) industry largely dominated by Naspers-owned Takealot.

It enjoys around 50% of all online shopping in the country, just as Walmart-owned Massmart is set to ram-up its own e-commerce offering. Amazon’s launch is a further boom for an industry which has recovered following a pandemic-era slump.