by TINTSWALO BALOYI
JOHANNESBURG – THE future looks bright for dark stores in South Africa, driven by the country’s on-demand grocery delivery market that has continued its meteoric boom.
Growing consumer emphasis on convenience and time-savings is spearheading the growth of this market.
This growth has defied economic conditions marked by soaring costs of living and rising interest rates in Africa’s most industrialised albeit unstable economy.
The South African Reserve Bank (SARB) has slashed its local economic growth expectations to 0,3 percent for 2023. By contrast, Statista has predicted that the grocery delivery market will achieve an average annual growth rate of 11,18 percent between 2023 and 2027.
“Given the growing squeeze on consumer wallets, however, this phenomenal success is likely to be driven by dark store disruptors which can offer superior cost savings and convenience,” stated Timothy Kiluba, General Manager of Yassir South Africa.
Dark stores are, by definition, sophisticated warehouses which are not open to the general public, housing thousands of products for selection by online shoppers which are delivered straight to their door.
Dark stores unrestricted by traditional retail operating hours and shopping queues.
For example, Yassir Express’ dark stores remain open from 06h00 to 22h00.
Grocery stores mostly open an hour later and close two hours earlier.
Kiluba said the Yassir Express has been successful to date, delivering thousands of items to households across the economic powerhouse, Gauteng, within the past two months alone.
He disclosed that building on this foundation, the company plan to open more dark stores across this province over the coming months while investing in further app development to better support the South African market and ensure seamless shopping experiences.
“Additionally, our goal is to roll-out nationwide with rapid expansion,” the official revealed.
Kiluba said the South African on-demand grocery delivery market was one of the country’s most exciting growth segments, especially as dark store disruptors seek to challenge traditional “retail goliaths.”
“This will certainly be a space to watch,” he forecast.
– CAJ News