Visa Highlights Shopping Habits, Launches Support For Small Kenyan Businesses

The  Where You Shop Matters initiative is aimed at supporting small businesses in Kenya

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Digital and cashless transactions are the new ways for businesses to grow.

Visa has launched a Where You Shop Matters initiative that aims to champion and enable entrepreneurship in Kenya while encouraging consumers to support small businesses. Alongside a new SMB resource hub, Visa has published the COVID-19 CEMEA Impact Tracker highlighting the recent effect the novel coronavirus pandemic has had on commerce for consumers and small merchants in Kenya.

The findings of the report highlight increased anxiety with consumers staying away from all but essential retail. 65 per cent of consumers polled reported going grocery shopping less often, while 49 per cent reported taking public transportation less often. The impact of the pandemic still hasn’t made a significant impact on transactions on public transport as nearly a third of the surveyed consumers saying that they still pay with cash when using public transport.

Thanks to the pandemic, quite a number of consumers locally have started shopping online for the first time for essentials. 39 per cent of consumers surveyed say that COVID-19 has led to their first online grocery purchase, while 43 per cent have made their first online purchase from pharmacies. Overall, the report points to a shift towards online commerce, with cash transactions being replaced by digital payments.

The study also found current conditions have catalysed food delivery services as 42 per cent of consumers polled said that they made their food delivery purchase. As consumers and merchants focus on safety and hygiene, contactless payments have also increased during the crisis with enabled merchants seeing an 88 per cent growth in contactless usage post-COVID-19.

“39 per cent of consumers surveyed say that COVID-19 has led to their first online grocery purchase, while 43 per cent have made their first online purchase from pharmacies. Overall, the report points to a shift towards online commerce, with cash transactions being replaced by digital payments.”

Commenting on the report’s findings Corine Mbiaketcha, General Manager, Visa East Africa, said, “The pandemic is impacting business everywhere. The findings of the COVID-19 CEMEA Impact Tracker suggest shoppers have changed how they shop, and this is already having a major impact on how merchants do business. As consumers adapt to the current restrictions, many have changed how they shop and turned to online outlets for their shopping. These changes present challenges but also enormous opportunities for all merchants, including small businesses.”

According to the report, 53 per cent of consumers admit to now spending less while also highlighting a trend that suggests shoppers have transformed how they shop. Asked about spending habits, consumers are increasingly optimising their trips – 73 per cent buying in bulk, making lists to avoid impulsive purchases, and buying non-perishable items to ensure fewer trips.

“This report shows how merchants who have moved online and adopted contactless payment systems have been able to better weather the adversity, with cash-only retailers most negatively impacted. It is vital that merchants, across the globe, understand consumer behaviours and adapt accordingly – eCommerce and digital solutions will undoubtedly enable growth,” Mbiaketcha noted.

Launched on the 17 June, Where You Shop Matters will help support small businesses through the Visa Small Business Hub, a merchant platform providing tools and information on how to start, run and grow small businesses. The platform will also feature leading merchants who embody the passion and entrepreneurship of small businesses across Kenya.

“At Visa, we are proud to support merchants and recognise that many small businesses have been most adversely affected by the pandemic. From eCommerce to security, our Where You Shop Matters initiative aims to help support them and champion the local small businesses that serve as the backbone of our communities,” Mbiaketcha concluded.

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