Cover story

Amazon’s big bet on South Africa

Amazon’s entry into South Africa is going to cause some waves, some of which may engulf competitors.

01 November 2023

Exactly when Amazon starts shipping from a local marketplace is immaterial. It’s been an open secret for much of this year, but on October 17, the company announced it will be launching in South Africa next year, and invited independent sellers to register on its portal. It was already widely known that Amazon had secured two warehouses, one in Montague Gardens in Cape Town, the other at Eastport Logistics Park between OR Tambo and Pretoria. This was publicly confirmed by well-known Cape property broker Ash Müller in July. Amazon has been actively recruiting for roles in marketing, business development, compliance, and vendor management in the country, a process that started over a year ago.

Codenamed “Project Fela”, according to a report on Business Insider, its entry into South Africa was originally planned for February 2023, but was pushed back. Only one of the five launches leaked in 2022 (Belgium) has happened this year. Murmurs in the market have it that the global ecommerce powerhouse will launch before the Black Friday shopping frenzy in November. In recent years, this promotional period has become so enormous that it has actually shifted the Christmas shopping peak forward from mid-December.

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