Jumia’s stock hit a one-year low despite a year of many milestones

Africa’s e-commerce leader Jumia does not seem to have impressed investors with its 2021 earnings report, with its share price reaching a new one-year low of $7.25 at the end of trading on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) on Mar. 11.

Jumia achieved record active user and order milestones last year partly due to an advertising blitz. The company is looking to build on that growth by offering free delivery for orders above a certain threshold in select markets this year.

Its delivery is more efficient, with fulfillment expense per order at $2.7 from over $3 in 2019, and has even made a business out of offering its logistics prowess to other companies. It will spend at least $50 million in ads before July across its 11 markets.

But if the stock market is a gauge of how excited the public is about these plans, the reception has been underwhelming.

An ‘underweight’ stock keeps sliding

Jumia’s best day on the NYSE over the past year was when its share price closed at $51.55 on Mar.15, 2021. That happened a month after the company’s best day ever as a public company, when it averaged $60 for the first 16 days of February.

Those now seem to be distant days. A gradual descent since has brought the stock to the level that it was at in mid 2019 after discoveries of internal fraud set the company back in its positioning as Africa’s best hope for cracking Amazon-like e-commerce.

A downward slide of Jumia’s stock after an earnings report happened as recently as last quarter, coinciding with a Morgan Stanley analyst’s downgrade of the stock from neutral to underweight. The analyst had advised investors to aim to sell at $11 at the time when it was listed at just over $12.

As Africa’s only public e-commerce company, Jumia’s performance is often a window into the future of online retail on the continent. Perhaps the state of its stock is only a reflection of the state of the market, but industry watchers will wonder if the Amazon of Africa can get itself back to where it was this time last year.

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