Uganda - eCommerceUganda - eCommerce
Loosely regulated and informal, eCommerce is rapidly growing in Uganda due to the widespread use of mobile money payments and rapid growth in telecommunication users. Since 2008, Ugandan commercial banks have offered Mobile Money, which allows mobile phone users to electronically transfer funds to retailers or individuals. With comparatively lower fees and a wider network of money exchanges, mobile money is growing faster than traditional banking in Uganda. Although the GOU regulates Mobile Money, identity enforcement remains poor. The GOU lacks regulations and enforcement mechanisms to combat illegal activities advertised on informal mobile platforms.
Current Market Trends
The GOU does not officially track eCommerce use; however, mobile money usage is nearly universal among mobile phone customers and the GOU is beginning to track mobile money and mobile commercial transactions. As the number of smart phone customers increase in Uganda, Ugandan entrepreneurs have developed several new mobile applications to facilitate e-commerce over the past year.
Domestic eCommerce (B2C)
Most of Uganda’s domestic business to customer (B2C) eCommerce sector is run on social media platforms on mobile devices including WhatsApp, Snapchat, Facebook, and WeChat. As the number of smart phone customers increase in Uganda, developers have started offering mobile applications to facilitate eCommerce. Online classified websites also facilitate B2C eCommerce.
The Ugandan businesses community uses the following websites to facilitate cross-border eCommerce:
Customers can pay for goods and services with a credit card and businesses in the region can receive a payment through mobile money transfers.
See above section on B2C eCommerce. Uganda’s business to business (B2B) eCommerce runs on a similar basis as B2C eCommerce.
Uganda’s eCommerce covers a wide-range of goods and services and also allows for tax payment. With no specific eCommerce regulations, illicit as well as legitimate trade is facilitated in Uganda’s informal eCommerce sector.
eCommerce Intellectual Property Rights
Businesses operating on eCommerce platforms rely on traditional mechanisms to protect their intellectual property rights. See section on intellectual property rights.
Popular eCommerce Sites
In addition to advertising on social media platforms, the following websites are among those that facilitate eCommerce in Uganda.
Nile Cargo Carrier
TNT - The People Network
Exporting out of Uganda:
Uganda Post Limited (sole mail service provider in Uganda)
Restaurants & Home Delivery:
Clothing & Apparel:
Uganda Revenue Authority
Larger eCommerce firms accept credit cards, most Ugandan merchants operate on a cash basis through mobile money. This is quickly changing due to numerous interchange transactions allowing for credit cards or mobile money to be transacted online in a similar fashion.
Most of Uganda’s eCommerce is conducted informally on mobile devices through social media platforms including WhatsApp, Snapchat, Facebook, and WeChat. Uganda’s mobile eCommerce platforms are unregulated and can contain illicit goods and services.
Uganda’s digital marketing is conducted on social media platforms and online classified websites. Many Ugandan businesses run social media campaigns targeting segmented user sets through most social media platforms. While traditional media is still prevalent, many firms with smaller marketing budgets rely heavily on social media platforms to promote their goods and services.
Major Buying Holidays
Major buying holidays in Uganda include:
Christmas –Consumer goods sales volume increases begin in October.
Schools – Stationary goods sales volume increases in January and July ahead of the academic calendar.
Eid al-Fitr and Eid al-Adha – Consumer goods and food sales volume increases around the Eid holidays, which vary according to the lunar calendar.
See mobile eCommerce section.
Uganda eCommerce Industry Trade Development and Promotion eCommerce