How the Fear of Ebola virus boosts e-commerce in Nigeria

Ordinary Nigerians worry, the fear of Ebola Virus Disease  has  led to a boom in online shopping in Nigeria , as some people avoid going out into crowded markets and shopping malls.

Ebola is giving an unexpected push to the  nascent e-commerce in Nigeria , after the first case of Ebola was recorded in July, when Patrick Sawyer, a Liberian civil servant, died in Lagos. At least six others have died since.

Jumia, the biggest e-commerce site, says orders have tripled since the outbreak. It has seen a big increase in demand for sanitation products—such as hand-wash, bleach and other cleaning agents—which have supplanted mobile phones as the bestselling products. Other online retailers, among them Konga and Kaymu, also report a large increase in sales of cleaning supplies.

E-commerce firms say they have a big contribution to make to preventing the spread of Ebola, not only by stocking and delivering hygiene products but also by promoting health-and-safety standards among staff and educating customers. “E-commerce allows business to be done to a large scale by a limited number of people who can be held to a controlled regime, to limit the spread of communicable diseases,” says Sim Shagaya, chief executive of Konga.

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