Describes how widely e-Commerce is used, the primary sectors that sell through e-commerce, and how much product/service in each sector is sold through e-commerce versus brick-and-mortar retail. Includes what a company needs to know to take advantage of e-commerce in the local market and , reputable, prominent B2B websites.
Last Published: 7/20/2017

Overview

E-commerce is limited due to low Internet penetration rates, poor telecommunications infrastructure, and the high cost of Internet services.   In addition, there is limited postal and delivery infrastructure.
 

Current Market Trends

Kinshasa is the capital of Congolese e-Commerce with 43percent of purchases, followed by Lubumbashi (20percent), Bukavu, Matadi and Mbuji-Mayi.  These cities also correspond to the main corridors for sending money to the DRC from abroad according to the study "Mobile Money in the Democratic Republic of the Congo" published in July 2013.  The majority of users of mobile payments are also found in these cities.
 

Domestic eCommerce (B2C)

A few eCommerce platforms, in collaboration with business entities in the retail sector, offer eCommerce service to consumers, but there is no accurate data about how many businesses buy products or services through eCommerce.
 

Cross-Border eCommerce

While not common for the average Congolese citizen, particularly due to a lack of infrastructure and underdeveloped postal systems, some elite Congolese and many foreign nationals use such eCommerce platforms to buy goods and services from overseas.
 

B2B eCommerce

B2B eCommerce is virtually non-existent in DRC, but several IT designers and software developers are negotiating with business entities to launch this activity.
 

eCommerce Services

There are a few existing ecommerce services that mainly focus on the retail industry.
 

eCommerce Intellectual Property Rights

DRC Law No. 86-033 of 5 April 1986 on the protection of authors' rights, provides the basis for protection of eCommerce Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) in DRC, but the law has been sporadically and inconsistently enforced such that IPR is for all intents and purposes unprotected.
 

Popular eCommerce Sites

The most popular websites for ecommerce are: lezando.com, youdee.cd, zephone.com and coolprix.com
 

Online Payment

Despite a banking penetration rate considered to be one of the weakest in the world, several banks and businesses in DRC offer online payment options for clients, both retail and corporate.
 

Mobile eCommerce

Mobile eCommerce is well implemented in the country, with all telecom operators offering a mobile payment platform to their clients. However only four (4) percent of Congolese consumers use mobile banking according to a study conducted by Elan DRC, a private sector development program funded in cooperation with the British government.
 

Digital Marketing

Digital marketing is used regularly by both Congolese and international businesses in the DRC, primarily via social media, mobile phones and electronic billboards. Television and radio marketing is secondary to digital marketing.
 

Major Buying Holidays

There are no “traditional” buying holidays in the DRC, though closer to Christmas, when many employees receive a bonus, there is an uptick in spending.
 

Social Media

More and more businesses do advertise their products and services through social media such as Facebook.

Prepared by our U.S. Embassies abroad. With its network of 108 offices across the United States and in more than 75 countries, the U.S. Commercial Service of the U.S. Department of Commerce utilizes its global presence and international marketing expertise to help U.S. companies sell their products and services worldwide. Locate the U.S. Commercial Service trade specialist in the U.S. nearest you by visiting http://export.gov/usoffices.



Congo Kinshasa eCommerce Industry Trade Development and Promotion eCommerce