Afghan consumers are increasingly taking to the internet in a bid to stay safe, according to a report published by Reuters. With frequent suicide bomb attacks and sexual harassment on the rise in the capital, many consumers are staying home and going online instead.
Several start-ups have sprung up as a result selling goods from cosmetics to kitchenware and, with some 60 percent of the population aged under 25 according to UN figures, per Reuters, and smartphone penetration high, the conditions are ripe for enterprising individuals.
“We work as a connecting bridge between people and large stores and traders,” Tamim Rasa, Founder of web-based cosmetics retailer Rasa Online told Reuters. “A month ago we were hardly managing to earn our expenses – we were making a loss – but now we are making a profit of 1,000 to 3,000 afghanis a day. It shows we are growing.”
And while delivery can be hampered by the same conditions that are causing consumers to stay home, women are spared the harassment they could encounter if they took to the streets themselves.
However, online shopping is not without its risks – most traders are unlicensed, according to commerce ministry stats, leaving customers vulnerable to scammers.