Statistics by Kenya’s communication regulator Communication Authority of Kenya (CAK) indicate is fast becoming an African digital technology giant. Third quarter industry results recently indicate there are now 21.6 million internet users in the country.
This increase in internet penetration, which now stands at 53.3 percent, creates a big opportunity for brands and businesses to move online. Indeed, the number of domain names in Kenya has increased by 9.1% in the last quarter, a testament to the number of businesses and individuals going online.
The real estate sector has not been left out of this growth. User-friendly websites have been created to tap into the growing market, including the global property listings portal Lamudi, which launched in Kenya in October 2013.
Lamudi Kenya MD Dan Karua observed: “The Kenyan property market is very vibrant. We have created a user friendly platform lamudi.co.ke, for agents, developers and individual property owners to sell or rent their properties.”
Furthermore, recent months have seen exponential growth in the number of mobile phone users and the level of mobile penetration. According to the CAK report, the number of mobile subscribers in the country now stands at 31.3 million, an increase of over half a million, and mobile penetration has reached 78.2%.
Lamudi has also tapped into this ever growing market with its app, Lamudi: Real Estate for Sale and Rent, available on iOS and Android. The app has all the features and functionality of the Lamudi website, but with the convenience of mobile. This is crucial because in Africa mobile ownership is significantly higher than laptop or PC ownership, and many Africans use their smartphones to carry out tasks that would typically be undertaken on a computer in Europe or North America. In fact, in the last quarter 99% of new internet subscriptions came from internet mobile data subscribers.
However, the exponential growth in the number of the online market comes with its challenges.
“The biggest challenge we have encountered is getting rid of fraud in the Kenyan real estate sector by getting legitimate property agencies on board. But we do our due diligence enforcing high level quality control on all property listings bringing convenience and ease of use to the everyday user of our platform,” Karua stated.
This also serves the purpose of establishing trust in the online sector among customers, who are often wary of making purchases over the internet.