The interview


“We are inventing Africa’s retail model for tomorrow. It’s so exciting!”

Since 2012, Sacha Poignonnec has jointly managed Jumia with Jeremy Hodara


    For 2 years, the Jumia online retailer has been an African e-commerce pioneer, offering authentic branded products and home deliveries in a market of 1.11 billion potential consumers. Sophie Baqué met Sacha Poignonnec, co-Director of Jumia.


    Sophie Baqué: Can you showcase Jumia, now Africa’s largest online retailer?
    Sacha Poignonnec: Jumia was created in May 2012 in Lagos, the capital and economic power house of Nigeria. Last year, Jumia delivered 600 million orders. We don’t report sales and margin yet. As part of Africa Internet Group, Jumia has three shareholders, each with a 33%-stake: the German giant Rocket Internet (former owner of Zalando) and two African telecommunication firms, MTN and Millicom, who have over 250 mobile subscribers in all. Jumia has 3,000 employees, of which 98% are based in Africa. Our key values for our staff are curiosity, humility and pragmatism.


    Please explain us the Jumia business model.
    Just like Amazon, Jumia is a "Business-to-Consumer" online retailer. Our African customers can buy over 250,000 items on our website from diversified categories such as computers, mobile phones, smartphones, cameras, fashion and accessories.


    What are Jumia’s fastest growing categories?
    Electrical products (smartphones, computers), household appliances (refrigerators, TVs) and fashion (dresses, shirts, footwear) report solid and rising sales. Nigerians are increasingly fashion conscious. As the British influence is still huge, they love British brands but also those of France and Italy. Jumia sells clothing branded by Blueinc, Diesel, Topshop and Kenneth Cole. We sell footwear from Aldo, Nine West, Puma and Nike, with electrical items from Apple, Huawei, Asus and H.P. Home appliances are represented by Moulinex and Tefal.


    What is your current geographic scope?
    Jumia covers 10 countries: Nigeria, Cameroon, Ivory Coast, Ghana, Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Egypt, South Africa and Morocco. In 2015, we will open in Algeria and Senegal. Nigeria is our largest market by sales followed by Egypt and Morocco. With this large-scale presence, we are learning faster than if we were operating in a single country.


    How is modern retail developing in Africa?

    Buying international brands is very complex for Africans, as supply is always lower than demand. For instance, Lagos has only 3 malls for a city population of 25 million, often with an associated 2-hour drive in solid traffic.



The full article is for subscribers only


Summary of February 2015

Page 3

Ikea’s profits stabilise in 2014 despite of revenue growth.

Page 4

Russian tourists in European capital cities and Dubai become rare, as the ruble keeps devaluating.

Page 5

Opportunities & threats of the European high streets.

Page 6

Learning from the story of Target in Canada and Tesco in the USA


Page 9

Middle East. Grocery retailers bet on convenience.


Page 10

India. Will 2015 be a crucial year for foreign direct investment in retail?


Page 11

The 250 retail world champions (Deloitte)