Amazon South Africa is live - TechCentral

7 May 2024 is live. US e-commerce giant Amazon has quietly launched its South African online storefront without so much as a statement about it.

Amazon South Africa - Figure 1
Photo TechCentral

When TechCentral visited on Tuesday, a wide range of stock was available in local pricing, with promises of next-day delivery.

The apparent soft-launch of the platform comes after Amazon last year firmed up persistent market talk that it would launch marketplace operations in South Africa. It had reportedly also planned to launch in Nigeria, but those plans were later apparently shelved.

Amazon South Africa is offering free delivery on a customer’s first order. It is also providing deliveries to pick-up points, include those operated by Pargo and Pudo (the Courier Guy).

In a subsequent statement on Tuesday, Amazon confirmed that it has launched retail operations in South Africa. It said customers in South African “can now shop from a wide variety of local and international brands across 20 product categories”.

“ offers a reliable online shopping experience featuring great value, including same-day [and next-day] delivery, over 3 000 pickup points, easy returns and 24/7 customer support,” it said.

“We are excited to launch, along with thousands of independent sellers in South Africa. We provide customers with great value, broad selection – including international and local products – and a convenient delivery experience,” said Robert Koen, MD of Amazon in sub-Saharan Africa, in the statement.

Amazon has a storied history in South Africa, with the roots of its cloud business, Amazon Web Services, going back to the first Elastic Compute (EC2) instance built by local engineers led by Chris Pinkham in Cape Town in 2006. AWS has development and support centres in Cape Town, where it has also established data centre infrastructure to serve the South African and other African markets with cloud computing services.

Amazon South Africa - Figure 2
Photo TechCentral

Speculation about Amazon’s entry into local retail operations kicked off in 2022, but it was only in October 2023 that the US-based online shopping giant confirmed its intention to commence local operations.

Much of the anticipation of Amazon’s South African launch was off the back of its Prime service and what shape that would take in the local context. In the US, Prime membership – which costs US$14.99/month or $139/year – includes shipping benefits, with free two-day shipping on qualifying items as standard. No minimum purchase amount is required, so even a single low-priced item costing only a few dollars will be delivered free of charge.

Amazon Prime subscribers get free access to Amazon Prime Video, with unlimited streaming of movies, series and documentaries. Also included in the Prime subscription is Amazon’s audio streaming platform, Prime Music. According to the Amazon website, Prime Music subscribers have access to a library of podcasts and more than 100 million songs free of advertising interruptions.

Other digital services that come bundled with a Prime subscription include Prime Photo – a storage service that offers unlimited image storage in original quality – and Prime Gaming, which includes games and a subscription to Twitch Prime with bonus games, exclusive in-game content, and more.

No Prime yet

Readers also enjoy access to hundreds of books, magazines and other reading materials – although this content is only accessible through Amazon’s reading devices such as a Kindle e-reader or Fire tablet.

There are currently no indications on the website that the Prime service is available locally – as yet. The sparse product catalogue also suggests that the megaretailer is perhaps testing its logistics infrastructure and ironing out any kinks before making a larger product offering available.

Intriguingly, Amazon’s own Kindle e-readers are not available on

Visit the newly launched website here.  — (c) 2024 NewsCentral Media

This is a developing story … check back regularly for more Read next: Amazon Prime is coming to South Africa – what to expect
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