Pan-African e-commerce giant Jumia is facing a challenging future as it continues to accumulate substantial losses, reaching a staggering $2 billion since its establishment. The company’s annual report, filed with the US Securities and Exchange Commission, warns that there are no guarantees of achieving or sustaining profitability in the coming years.
The report highlights several factors that could negatively impact Jumia’s business, including Africa’s lower internet penetration rate, potential disruptions to its technology systems, and security breaches caused by hacking, viruses, fraud, and malicious attacks. Addressing these operational challenges requires significant financial resources, and the company’s future profitability remains uncertain.
Jumia operates an expansive pan-African e-commerce platform, operating in 23 countries across the continent. Its platform consists of a marketplace connecting businesses with consumers, a logistics service facilitating shipping and delivery, and JumiaPay, a payment service enabling transactions in collaboration with licensed payment service providers.
Despite generating revenue from commissions and direct sales, Jumia’s income falls short of covering its operating expenses. Since its inception in 2012, the company has failed to achieve profitability on a consolidated basis, reporting losses of $183.7 million in 2020, $226.9 million in 2021, and $238.3 million in 2022. As of December 31, 2022, Jumia’s accumulated losses have reached $2.0 billion.
Jumia acknowledges that future revenue generation may not be sufficient to offset platform maintenance costs and business growth. While e-commerce is rapidly expanding in some mature markets, profitability remains uncertain in regions where e-commerce adoption is slower.
The company expects operating expenses to rise further as it invests heavily in acquiring and retaining sellers and consumers, as well as maintaining and expanding its technology infrastructure. However, these investments may not guarantee increased revenue growth. Should Jumia fail to generate enough revenue to cover its business costs, achieving sustained profitability and positive cash flow will be a significant challenge, potentially leading to a decline in revenue growth rate.