Online Shopping in Zambia

Sara Drawwater
30 December 2018
As online technology has progressed, individual consumers have become more and more ‘time-poor’. The result? A boom in online shopping.

Online Shopping in Zambia

In this post we discuss online shopping and what it means for businesses and consumers in Zambia.

The global online shopping phenomenon

As the technology needed for online shopping has progressed, individual consumers have become more and more ‘time-poor’. The result? A boom in online shopping.

“In the UK between November and December, 387 million parcels are expected to be delivered by retailers — up 13% on last year — says online retail association IMRG. And in the US, delivery giant UPS expects to deliver nearly 800 million packages globally between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Eve, a 38 million increase on last year.” — BBC

Yes, online shopping has shaken the retail world, causing the ‘high street’ to have to rethink itself, with numerous retailers, like J.C. Penney, Poundworld and Toys ‘R’ Us, forced to close down. This wave of change has been driven by the consumer’s preference for the convenience of online shopping and its time-saving efficiencies.

Compare 1. Ordering online and having your goods delivered to your door within a few hours (15 minutes of your precious time) with 2. Travelling to a shopping area, walking round the shops to make your selection, buying the goods and transporting them back to your house several hours later (2–3 hours of your precious time).

And the efficiencies experienced by consumers are multiplied for the commercial buyer, causing a revolution in the world of procurement and purchasing.

What does all this mean for Zambia?

Online shopping is coming to Zambia. And I’m talking about true Zambian online shopping i.e. for goods from Zambia as opposed to USA, UK or China.

  • It’s coming because the demand is growingMany in the diaspora currently enjoy the convenience of online shopping. Many in Zambia are already buying products from other parts of the world and getting them delivered to Zambia. More and more Zambian professionals are finding they have less time as they juggle work and family commitments. Zambian companies too are looking for ways of operating more efficiently and effectively.
  • It’s coming because it’s doableVarious payment systems are available. Logistics can be organised. A number of location systems are being developed such as plus codes (these are short location codes for places that don’t have their own street address)
  • It’s coming because suppliers want more businessIn any capitalist economy, suppliers are looking to grow the market and their share in it. Clearly the development of a new way of shopping that significantly aids buyers in making decisions, making purchases and getting the goods delivered to them, is going to act as a catalyst for market growth.

Is there a downside?

In short — yes. The obvious disadvantages of online shopping are:

  • You don’t see the goods before you buy themAt best you see an image of the item on your screen. The quality may be different than you expect, so brand and supplier reputation become more significant. Also, checking the size is important. I recently bought a drinking water bottle cover that was far too small for the 300ml bottle I needed it for. And my daughter bought an Epson printer that was twice the size she needed.
  • You need to pay in advancePaying in advance means you have to trust that the supplier will deliver your purchase to you. So again brand and supplier reputation are factors.

However consumers and commercial buyers find that the advantages of convenience and efficiency far outweigh these negatives.

Our contribution to improving the Zambian shopping experience

In a bid to improve the Zambian shopping experience and stimulate economic growth in the country, Infobwana Ltd (the company behind is fully embracing online shopping for Zambia.

Our Marketplace features a rapidly growing list of products by businesses in Zambia

We’re introducing the following:

  • An online shop windowWe currently provide all our hundreds of clients with what is effectively an online shop window for each of the products and services they offer.
  • Online purchasesWe will shortly be providing a facility for consumers and commercial buyers to order and pay for the products and services offered.
  • Product and service deliveryOur online purchasing system will be introduced together with a system that ensures the purchaser receives the service or physical item they have bought.

If you’re a business in Zambia

Talk to us to learn more about what we can add to your marketing efforts through innovative features such as online shopping. Start an online chat conversation with us at