Mauritius, an exotic island in the Indian Ocean, may not be the first place to come to your mind when thinking about ecommerce development. However, as with all African ecommerce, increasing internet penetration throughout the country means that the ecommerce industry in Mauritius is growing rapidly. According to Internet World Stats, over 62% of the population in Mauritius uses the internet.
More customers than ever before are using online services, such as internet banking, to complete transactions. Credit card usage is also on the rise, paving the way for increased ecommerce in the future. There has been an increase in mobile payments, as well.
Due to obvious benefits, like the ability for customers to make payments from the comfort of their own homes, more and more shops in Mauritius are jumping on the ecommerce bandwagon. They are opening ecommerce websites where customers can make payments online using the many secure payment options available.
The challenges of ecommerce in Mauritius
Mauritius is not without its own set of ecommerce challenges. There are some significant barriers to ecommerce growth, such as:
Limited market size
The population of Mauritius is only 1.2 million, which discourages global merchants from targeting Mauritius directly. This has a knock-on effect, in that global ecommerce giants, such as Amazon, have limited shipping to Mauritius. Even when shipping is possible, there are hefty customs fees and transport costs.
Limited Internet Infrastructure
Low speed and bandwidth of internet connections, and the lack of infrastructure in some remote areas are another challenge to the development of ecommerce in Mauritius. To overcome this, the country is beginning an upgrade to fiber-broadband for speeds of between 10-30MB. The government plans to finish this task in 2018. This is promising for the future of Mauritian ecommerce, as it will increase the customer base and allow more residents to engage in online purchasing.
Secure online payment options in Mauritius
A major factor that promises to significantly boost the ecommerce industry in Mauritius is the introduction of new online payment solutions.
From February 2016, customers in Mauritius have been able to use their MCB MasterCard debit cards to make online purchases both in Mauritius and internationally. Before this, customers were limited to using credit cards, which many Mauritians did not have access to. Debit cards are much more popular, reaching over 600,000 customers. PayPal has also become a possible global payment option, through the Mauritius Commercial Bank’s “Juice MCB” app.
Payment security has also increased, with the State Bank of Mauritius offering the SBM E-Secure platform for password-protected online transactions. Another factor that has increased security is the implementation of 3D Secure for both MasterCard and Visa cards. MasterCard’s ‘SecureCode’, and Visa’s ‘Verified by Visa’ technologies, both ensure minimum fraud risk and maximum safety when making purchases online. This encourages Mauritians, who were previously reluctant to pay online due to security concerns, to do so more comfortably. Now, credit and debit cards can be used for online payments, without fear of unauthorized use.
Ecommerce success in Mauritius
There are already a great number of successful ecommerce merchants in Mauritius. For example, marideal.mu offers great deals on hotel bookings, and provides both credit card and internet banking online payment options. Theshop.mu is another example. Customers can buy groceries, homeware, and many other goods with next day delivery anywhere in Mauritius, and online payment functionality.
Grocery shopping with theshop.mu
As you can see, although Mauritius faces certain ecommerce challenges, the current trends are very promising. With the recent introduction of new, secure payment options and the upcoming introduction of fiber-broadband this year, we look forward to seeing even more ecommerce growth in the coming months and years.