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Online Cross-border Trade to reach $130Bn by 2020 – Report

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The value of online exports in six of the top e-commerce markets will grow fivefold to $130 billion by 2020, with Britain currently generating the biggest online trade surplus by selling more goods abroad, research showed on Monday.

The study by London-based management consultancy OC&C and U.S. search engine Google estimated the value of cross-border online trade in the United States, Britain, Germany, the Nordics, the Netherlands and France at $25 billion for 2013.

E-commerce is expanding at breakneck pace, with online retail sales in Europe seen doubling by 2018 to 323 billion euros ($437.91 billion), market research firm Mintel forecasts.

“Over the next decade, online retail will become even more international. This represents a great opportunity for retailers by providing a new, capital-light approach to grow rapidly,” OC&C partner Anita Balchandani said in a statement.

Britain, the most advanced e-commerce market in the world, generated the biggest online trade surplus in 2013 of more than $1 billion, OC&C estimated, followed by the United States with a surplus of $180 million and Germany on $35 million.

While OC&C said U.S. online pioneers eBay and Amazon were the top international players in pure e-commerce, German online fashion retailer Zalando and British rival ASOS were next in their ranking.

ASOS said on January 14 that retail sales rose 38 percent to 335.7 million pounds in the four months to December 31, helped by a jump of 69 percent in Europe even as growth in the United States and Australia slowed.

Swedish furniture retailer IKEA topped the OC&C ranking of traditional players using e-commerce to speed their international expansion, followed by fashion retailer H&M and U.S. cosmetics seller Avon Products Inc.

German sportswear maker Adidas led the OC&C ranking of brands which have used e-commerce to build their international standing, followed by France’s Louis Vuitton and Hermes, and Britain’s Burberry.


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Jumia Brings Fitbit Products to Nigeria

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Fitbit, the global brand in wearable technology, is now available in Nigeria on Africa’s leading eCommerce platform, Jumia, in partnership with Redington Gulf.

Fitbit devices and services help people lead healthier, more active lives and this has never been more important than it is today. By empowering users with data, inspiration and guidance Fitbit is helping them reach their physical and mental health, and fitness goals. Its innovative products are sold at a wide range of accessible price points in nearly 39,000 retail stores across more than 100 countries worldwide.

“We are seeing increasing consumer demand for wearable technology on our platform, and bringing Fitbit products to our customers in Nigeria is an important step for us to address this demand and help Fitbit expand its reach across the country. Jumia delivers a seamless online shopping experience for consumers and from our platform with a dedicated official store on Jumia.” said Sandeep Narayanan, Head of Consumer Electronics, Jumia Group.

Fitbit supports healthier living

Fitbit is committed to inspiring those who want to lead a healthier and more active life through its range of innovative smartwatches and trackers that are compatible with most Android and iOS platforms, including Fitbit Versa 3, Fitbit Versa 2, Fitbit Charge 4, Fitbit Inspire 2 and Fitbit Ace 2 (see www.fitbit.com/devices for more information).

Fitbit gives users a deeper understanding of their health with smart features such as 24/7 heart rate tracking, on-device sleep tools to help optimize your sleep, Active Zone Minutes to make the most out of workouts and help manage stress with guided breathing programmes.

Users in Nigeria can also benefit from purchasing a membership to Fitbit Premium, which when paired with any Fitbit device, your Fitbit experience through a deeper analysis of your data and more personalized insights that connect the dots across your activity, sleep and heart rate, while offering hundreds of workouts, motivating games and challenges. Users new to Fitbit Premium can benefit from the 90-day free trial through the Fitbit App.

Fitbit Health Solutions will also be offering corporate product discounts to local businesses through Fitbit’s distributor Redington Gulf.


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WhatsApp Shifts Deadline for New Policy Update Terms

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WhatsApp has announced that it is moving forward the date for the acceptance of its new terms and conditions to May 15 from February 8.

WhatsApp Shifts Deadline for New Policy Update Terms

When the platform announced a few days ago that it would delete accounts of users who fail to accept the new terms, it led to criticisms, causing some to migrate to other less popular but equally functional platforms such as Telegram, Signal, among others.

In response to all the concerns and confusion, the app owned by Facebook said it has cancelled the February 8 deadline for users to accept these rules, thus delaying it until later in May.

The company said the extension would allow it ample time to clear up the misinformation around how privacy and security work on WhatsApp. They will then go to people gradually to review the policy at their own pace before May 15.

Earlier this month, WhatsApp started testing its new terms and privacy policy screen when users launched the app. The screen asked users to click “Agree” and accept the new terms, which will take effect on February 8.

This caused a mass panic caused by miscommunication led to many switching over to Telegram and Signal.

WhatsApp has come out to clarify that the new policy affects only those who interact with WhatsApp Business accounts on the service.

These Business accounts can now use Facebook hosting services to manage their WhatsApp chats, use Facebook-branded commerce features such as Shops, and display an ad on Facebook to message the business directly on WhatsApp.

In each of these cases, Facebook will now collect information on the users if they interact with these business and their ads, similar to clicking any other ad on Facebook.

WhatsApp says the new policy doesn’t change anything about users messaging or calling other users or groups, as those terms haven’t been changed.

It explained that messages and calls will continue to be encrypted and messages won’t be stored on Facebook’s servers. It’s not that WhatsApp doesn’t share any data at all with Facebook; it’s just that the amount of data shared isn’t changing with this update.


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African Tech Start-up Funding Passes US$700m in 2020

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2020 was a record year for investment into the African tech start-up ecosystem, with more start-ups raising more money, from more investors, than ever before.

This is according to the sixth edition of the annual African Tech Startups Funding Report 2020 released by start-up news and research portal Disrupt Africa, in partnership with Catalyst Fund, RTB House, Quona Capital, 4Di Capital, Villgro Africa, Lateral Capital, and Otundi Ventures.

The report finds that new funding records were set over the course of 2020, as 397 start-ups raised an impressive US$701.5-million in total funding. Both these figures are up substantially on the previous year, with the number of funded start-ups increasing 27.7% on 2019, and the funding total growing by 42.7%.

Though growth has slowed a little, the numbers represent impressive growth on 2019 in spite of the COVID-19 pandemic, and mean the African tech start-up ecosystem continues on its positive trajectory from a funding perspective.

This year’s edition of the report also counts at least 370 active investors, marking 42.8% growth on the previous year, when the data tracked 261 investors. This figure was in itself a 68.4% rise on the 155 investors found in 2018.

“Kenya, Nigeria, South Africa and Egypt remain emphatically Africa’s “big four” from a funding perspective, accounting for 77 per cent of funded start-ups and 89.2 per cent of total investment.

“Nigeria (85), Egypt (82) and South Africa (81) lead the way from a ventures perspective, but when it comes to total combined raised capital it is Kenya that is Africa’s leader, with start-ups from the East African country raising over US$190 million in funding in 2020,” according to Disrupt Africa.

Though these markets remain clear leaders, there are signs of growing activity elsewhere on the continent, with start-ups backed in 24 African countries, up from 19 in 2019, 20 in 2018, and 18 in 2017.

The financial technology sector was, yet again, the most attractive to investors in 2020, with more start-ups securing funding than any other sector and a combined total that dwarfed all others, research shows.

“In all, 99 Fintech start-ups raised investment over the course of the year, representing 24.9 percent of the overall total, while the combined amount raised by Fintech companies over the course of the year jumped 49.3 percent to US$160,319,065,” Disrupt Africa continues.

However, growth in Fintech investment is slowing to some extent, and other sectors also had impressive years – notably e-commerce and retail-tech, e-health, logistics, energy, recruitment and HR, transport, and agri-tech.

“The growth in funding seen across the continent’s tech ecosystems in 2020 is extremely strong, and all the more impressive given the circumstances of the year given COVID-19 and its many implications.

“As African startup funding passes the $700 million mark for the first time, and more investors pump more money into more markets than ever before, there are no signs of the sector slowing down,” said Gabriella Mulligan, co-founder of Disrupt Africa.


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