2019 Marketplace Expansion Index

The ecommerce and sharing economies are booming. Thousands of fast-growth marketplaces are emerging all around the world.
This index examines the top 36 countries for ecommerce and sharing economy platforms to expand.

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South Africa

2019 Rank # | 2018 Rank #

Big Mover



South Africa

Deteriorating macroeconomic conditions and complex regulations have led to a decline in the attractiveness of South Africa for global marketplaces despite continuing growth.

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Biggest Movers


Marketplace Expansion Index Rank

Down 6 Spots from 2018 Index Rank of #29


  • Growing acceptance of on-demand marketplaces
  • High growth rate of online retail
  • High availability of freelance employment


  • Country has been hit with economic recession and falling currency
  • Complex laws for digital marketplaces
  • Difficult to establish a business

Facts You Can't Forget


Changing Consumer Habits. Online retail is projected to reach 1.4 percent of total retail sales in South Africa in 2018 and the 2 percent mark is likely to be reached by 2022.


Removing Shopping Borders. The US version of Amazon.com is the third most visited ecommerce website in South Africa.


Innovation is Happening. Medici and Hello Doctor are connecting 400,000+ patients with medical practitioners and aim at connecting rural and less developed regions to remote access medical advice and consultations.

Ranking Highlights

For our full explanation, visit our methodology page



The fundamentals of any society and enterprise, including: payment infrastructure, ease of doing business, and Logistics Performance Index.



You’re only as good as your people. Factors in this category include: levels of English proficiency and participation in freelance employment.

Ecommerce Activity


This category assessed ecommerce opportunity size, retail ecommerce growth and ecommerce as a percentage of retail transactions.



The fate of foreign entrants, based on the volume of cross-border transactions and if a global marketplace dominates that geography.

Essential Reading

"Under South African employment law, platforms cannot hide behind the title of an independent contractor relationship. Employment tribunals (like the CCMA or Labour Court) are able to pierce the contractual terms to determine the true nature of the relationship between the parties."

"The [JUMO] platform has originated over $700 million in loans and manages over 25 million customer interactions per month. "

"South Africa ranks ahead of India, Brazil, and Russia on digital competitiveness based on its strengths in areas such as technology skills, research and development expenditure, access to capital, regulatory frameworks, innovation ecosystems and ICT exports."