A new report by Jumia, an ecosystem of e-commerces, marketplaces and classifieds websites has indicated that internet penetration in Uganda has increased over the last five years as a result of cheap data enabled smartphones.
The report which presents findings into the behavior of customers shopping online, the role of mobile brands and the impact of mobile phones on internet penetration suggests that at least 16.8 million Ugandans use the internet.
Named White paper, the report was made from a research conducted in all the African countries where Jumia operates.
“As we move towards a more digital economy, we find that the Ugandan consumer is becoming more sophisticated, with 41 per cent of the population in Uganda being classified as internet users (16.8 million Ugandans),” the report reads in part.
It indicates that the competitive landscape in the smartphone industry over the last five years has seen declining prices of handsets and, along with it, faster internet transmission speeds as one of the reasons for the increase in internet usage.
This, the report says is largely accelerated by Chinese brands such as Tecno and Itel entering the Ugandan market.
Currently, in Uganda, for as low as Shs 80,000 (Approximately $22) one can acquire an internet enabled Tecno or itel phone.
According to the report, over the last three years, the average price of a smartphone in Uganda has decreased by almost 45 per cent, from $178 (Shs 623,000) in 2014 to $99 (Shs 346,500).
Smartphones have a unique impact not only in Uganda but also across all other African countries that were surveyed, as they ease transactions.
In East Africa, Kenya records the highest internet penetration rate at 88 per cent of its 45.6 million people.
The report says that with the combination of a rising middle-class and the reduction in average smartphone prices, Uganda will “continue to see an upward trend in smartphone sales.”