Mobile commerce platform Copia expands into Uganda, targets the burgeoning middle-class

UGANDACopia Global, a fast-growing mobile commerce platform built to serve middle to low-income African consumers, has expanded its operations into Uganda.

Copia Uganda is built on the company’s success in its initial market in Kenya, where Copia serves more than 1 million customers and is doubling in size every year and the expansion will bring high-quality and affordable products to millions of middle-class Ugandans, regardless of location, technology access or connection status.

According to a 2016/17 study by the Economic Policy Research Centre, Uganda has experienced an upsurge of the middle class with a comparison of previous data revealing that the population doubled from 3.7 million to 8.3 million between 2013 and 2017.

Despite this population growth and the expected increase in purchasing power, the country’s retail sector is still majorly supported by the informal retail sector, similar to most of Sub-Saharan Africa and so Copia’s mobile commerce provides the needed convenient access to formal retail shopping for the middle- to low-income population in the country.

The timing is fortunate for Ugandans given the vast need for Copia’s mobile commerce service, deemed an essential business that can continue to operate day and night despite the worsening pandemic. People can access all the goods they need to run their households while remaining safe and healthy, away from large towns and markets. 

 A 2020 report by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) on the socio-economic impact of COVID-19 in Uganda shows a 50% decline in physical visits to retail stores and a 36% decline in visits to groceries and pharmacies due to restricted in-person business operations.

While nearly 20 million Ugandans have mobile subscriptions  (44% out of a total population of 47 million), only 12 million use the internet, which leaves a large gap in the number of people enabled for the digital economy.

While Copia is a technology enabled company through and through, it does not require customers to be tech savvy as the system is flexible to allow people to order anything they need through whatever medium best suits them, whether it be a phone call, text message, app or through a local agent.

“Over the last seven years, we have completed more than five million deliveries and served more than one million customers in Kenya and we are eager to expand our success story to the Uganda market”

Tim Steel – CE,O, Copia

Tracey Turner, Founder and Chairman, Copia Global said: Uganda has one of the fastest growing middle classes in the world with a hard-working population and a dynamic entrepreneurial culture. Copia is designed specifically to serve this high growth but underserved consumer base who want access to high-quality products at the best prices. Harnessing mobile technologies, a network of local agents and logistics technology, Copia can transform middle class and emerging middle-class Africans into empowered global customers.  Our expansion into Uganda is the next step in fulfilling that mission.”

Established in 2013, Copia’s model leverages a network of digitally enabled, locally based agents who operate as order and delivery points to meet consumers where they are, online or offline.

Copia agents are existing trusted shopkeepers like a local grocer or butcher, where customers can select and pay for products chosen from a Copia catalogue and after the order is placed, Copia sends an SMS order confirmation to both the agent and the customer and in 2 days, Copia delivers the products to the agent for customer pick up. 

Through the creation of its agent network, Copia supports the resilience of thousands of small and medium enterprises in Uganda.

The CEO of Copia Global Tim Steel said: “We are mindful of the challenges facing consumers in remote areas and we aim to be part of the solution to connect them to quality and affordable products. Over the last seven years, we have completed more than five million deliveries and served more than one million customers in Kenya and we are eager to expand our success story to the Uganda market.”

Over the coming years, Copia plans to expand its mobile commerce platform and logistics network across other regions of Africa.

Liked this article? Subscribe to DealStreet Africa News, our regular email newsletter with the latest news, deals and insights from Africa’s business, economy and more. SUBSCRIBE HERE

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.