An Assessment of the State of E-Commerce in Kenya
Mwencha, Peter Misiani
Thuo, John Kuria
Muathe, Stephen M. A.
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The rapid growth of electronic commerce (e-commerce) across the globe has led to a growing demand for better understanding of this phenomenon. While the assertion in the popular press is that there seems to be an understanding among Kenyans that online shopping activity is fundamentally different from that in a conventional ‘brick-and-mortar’ stores retail environment, there is need to empirically examine this issue more comprehensively. This exploratory study sought to establish the state of e-commerce in Kenya by examining the online shopping attitudes, behaviors and usage patterns. This was done by exploring the underlying motivations, beliefs, attitudes, and feelings on e-commerce among key decision-makers in selected firms and subsequently presenting an overview of the current state of affairs as well as future prospects. The study was qualitative in nature and the primary data collection was undertaken by conducting key informant interviews with 12 purposively selected respondents from six e-commerce firms using a semi-structured interview guide, thereby providing adequate insight into the e-commerce sub-sector in Kenya. Relevant secondary data was also collected via extensive documentary analysis. Qualitative content analysis of the interview responses revealed six key themes, namely customer perceptions, usage diversity, prevailing attitudes, usage drivers, market development and market prospects. The study has important theoretical, managerial and policy implications on e-commerce in Kenya.