E-commerce in Madagascar [2020 Study]

As every year for the last 3 years, we conducted a study to draw a portrait of e-commerce in Madagascar. This year, we questioned 2,409 Malagasy people about their online shopping habits. 1,121 of them have already made a purchase in e-commerce in Madagascar, while 1,288 continue to ignore online commerce in the Big Island in its current state. This study was carried out from 21 January 2020 to 09 February 2020. We will comment little on these results, leaving our readers free to interpret and arrive at the conclusions that will be most useful to them.

Concerning Malagasy people who have already made a purchase on the Internet

The products most bought online in Madagascar

Here are the products most purchased on the Internet in Madagascar by category (several choices were possible, so the total of the percentages is not 100):

Product categoryPercentage of response
Furniture and decoration13,56%
High tech products38,98%
Fashion clothing and accessories54,24%

The respective shares of these categories are stable compared to last year, with the clothing sector still dominating the preference of Internet users.

Internet shopping satisfaction

Respondents were asked to rate their overall satisfaction with their online shopping experience on a scale of 1 to 5, with 1 representing a very poor experience and 5 representing an excellent experience.

Satisfaction ratingPercentage
Arithmetic average3,17
Standard deviation1,05

We notice that the online shopping experience is rather average, although tending towards satisfaction. There are finally few very bad experiences.

Amount of the average shopping basket

We asked those who had purchased a product or service on the Internet at least once about the average amount of their transactions.

Average purchase amountPercentage
Less than 50,000 Ar45,76%
From 50,000 to 150,000 Ar23,73%
From 150,000 to 300,000 Ar15,25%
From 300,000 to 500,000 Ar1,69%
More than 500 000 Ar13,56%

It is therefore small purchases (less than 50 000 Ar) that dominate the landscape of e-commerce in Madagascar.

Means of payment for online purchases

Here is the breakdown of use of the different ways to pay for online purchases in Madagascar (several choices possible – so the total percentage is not 100%) :

Method of paymentPercentage
Bank Card11,86%
Mobile money37,29%

One can note the progress of credit card payments compared to last year, as well as the timid entry of cryptography. Unsurprisingly, payment by cash, generally on delivery, remains the preferred means of payment for Malagasy people for their purchases on the Internet.

Note: it is questionable whether an Internet purchase paid in cash is really e-commerce. In order to answer this question, we must turn to the definition of “e-commerce”: act of purchase carried out on the Internet. An act of purchase is a willingness and a commitment to acquire a good or service in return for a sum of money. Placing an order on the Internet without any other consideration of the method of payment is in line with this definition. It is thanks to the Internet that the consumer has decided to buy. Of course, it is more elegant to complete the online sales process with a dematerialized payment, but in some cases (and not only in Madagascar), physical payment may be a better option. For example in Europe, it is quite possible to pay your order on delivery in cash (Décathlon,…), or to order online and then come pay and pick up your order in store (Fnac, Materiel.net, Grosbill,…). Payment and delivery are only factors facilitating e-commerce, whether they are more or less dematerialized. Think also of BtoB relations where a company can buy goods from a supplier while paying him 3 months later, the purchase has taken place, the payment is deferred. The act of purchase is different from the act of payment.

Online store vs. Facebook

It is known that the informal sector represents a very large part of the economy in Madagascar. Its equivalent on the Internet can be seen as the sellers on Facebook. We therefore sought to find out where Internet users make their purchases online: in online shops and/or on Facebook (so the sum of the percentages is not 100%):

Location of online shoppingPercentage
Online Shop42,37%

Online commerce in Madagascar is mainly done on Facebook.

Madagascar’s e-commerce profile

Considering the previous results, we can see that Madagascar’s e-commerce profile is dominated by Facebook sales of clothing and fashion accessories at prices under 50,000 Ar and with cash on delivery.

E-commerce in Madagascar
E-commerce in Madagascar

About Malagasy people who have never bought online

Reason of non-consumers

Non-consumers are Malagasy people who have never made a purchase on the Internet. Here is the ranking of the reasons why they have not (yet) taken the step (several answers were possible):

Reason for not purchasingPercentage
Insufficient Internet access28,18%
Problem of means of payment26,09%
Lack of trust in e-merchants33,15%
Lack of confidence in delivery20,65%
Cannot find the desired products17,93%

The first reason that slows down purchases in Madagascar: the lack of confidence in e-merchants… The Internet access is still too limited and online payment difficulties follow closely.

Willingness to buy online

Here we asked non-consumers whether they still wanted to buy on the Internet if they could:

Want to buy on the InternetPercentage

A strong majority of non-consumers buying online in Madagascar is ready to take the plunge… Notice to e-commerce players.

Comparison man – woman

When we analyzed the results of these surveys, a remarkable fact emerged: female Internet users buy more online than their male counterparts in Madagascar, and this gap is significant.

Distribution of online shoppers vs. non-consumer Internet users for the male population :

Male Internet users who have already purchased onlinePercentage

Distribution of online shoppers vs. non-consumer Internet users for the female population :

Female Internet users who have already purchased onlinePercentage

Currently it is women who are driving the online economy in Madagascar.

Evolution of e-commerce in Madagascar

By analyzing all the studies made on e-commerce over the last 3 years, we can notice the following evolutions:

  • More and more Malagasy people who have never yet bought online are ready to take the plunge;
  • Clothing remains the dominant sector in the landscape of e-commerce in Madagascar;
  • Payment by credit card is evolving significantly;
  • Customer satisfaction remains stable;
  • Although Internet users still buy mainly via Facebook, the share of online shops is growing steadily and noticeably.

Technical datasheets

For the online buyer survey

Survey conducted by Stileex Data with 1121 respondents from 21 January to 09 February 2020 in Madagascar. Poll ID: #157449.

Description of the sample :

Under 18 years old1,87%
From 18 to 24 years old25,25%
From 25 to 34 years old38,98%
From 35 to 49 years old28,81%
From 50 to 64 years old3,39%
Over 65 years old1,69%
Province of residencePercentage
Socio-professional categoryPercentage
Liberal profession15,25%
Company manager6,78%
Executive or senior manager25,42%
No professional activity6,78%

No professional activity

Survey conducted by Stileex Data with 1288 respondents from 21 January to 09 February 2020 in Madagascar. Poll ID: #157449.

Description of the sample :

Under 18 years old1,48%
From 18 to 24 years old20,42%
From 25 to 34 years old42,86%
From 35 to 49 years old23,84%
From 50 to 64 years old9,24%
Over 65 years old2,17%
Province of residencePercentage
Socio-professional categoryPercentage
Liberal profession12,50%
Company manager8,15%
Executive or senior manager22,44%
No professional activity2,72%


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