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Morocco’s e-commerce flourishes beyond the Covid-19 pandemic

MOROCCO – Morocco’s e-commerce websites have recorded a 46% boost in the volume of transactions following the four-month lockdown in 2020, marking a 25%year-on-year year increase in the money spent on online purchases.

Morocco’s high internet penetration rate, reaching 75% of the country’s 37-million citizens, coupled with a robust road network has contributed to the rise in e-commerce.

The sector employs nearly 2 million people, which is about 14% of the active population and contributes 8% to the national GDP.

In addition to its good road network, the country has a stable power supply that enhances online business anytime and anywhere putting it ahead of its regional peers.

The boom has not only been limited to already-existing online retailers such as Jumia, and Electroplanet.ma but also saw social peer-to-peer commerce proliferate, as sellers and buyers overcame social distancing requirements through social media.

As people are forced to stay at home, online ordering of food, clothing, and electronics flourished, resulting in the creation of 300 new e-commerce businesses at the height of the Covid-19 induced economic crisis.

This trend brought the number of e-commerce businesses operating in 2020 to 1,000 websites.

Internet and smartphones popularity has largely contributed to the growth and development of online commerce in Morocco.

The sector comprises more than a thousand operators using Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp groups to reach out to clients and showcase their products quietly.

These sellers operate on a Cash-on-Delivery basis, making it harder for authorities to track them.

The lockdown has influenced change in consumer behavior in the North African country as they prefer the convenience and competitive prices that online shopping offers.

Despite the proliferation of e-commerce, Moroccan start-ups still face major constraints hindering their prospects.

A weak ecosystem, the absence of international investors, the huge size of the retail market, and the sluggishness of local companies to catch up with the trend are some of the barriers to be lifted in order for the industry to reach its full potential.

In spite of reaching an all-time high level of funding in 2021, set at US$29 million, Moroccan start-ups suffer from a weak flow of international investments and a “killer administrative process”.

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