Econet’s Ownai increases traffic by almost 200% in a month. Will they win c2c classifieds?

L.S.M Kabweza Avatar

Traffic to Econet’s classifieds property, Ownai had a drastic increase in traffic in the month of August. Some 180% increase from 95k to 270k visits a month. This is important and potentially a big deal for the company as it has in past failed to get any meaningful traction on its first internet venture.

In March this year we wrote that the site was actually declining in traffic, to figures as low as 15k visitors a month. It was very low traffic for a 5 months old website with the amount of resource behind it the size Econet’s.

These new figures however show that Econet may have finally found the growth formula. Hopefully organically. There’s no telling however what they did right in August to get that amount of growth.


I say hopefully it’s organic but you know that’s vain hope. 180% growth in a month would be anything but organic. Well unless ofcourse everything has changed and we’ll be seeing such crazy growth onwards month on month. But seeing I’m in Zimbabwe and haven’t heard a single satisfied Ownai customers speaking about the service, I’m figuring not much has changed on the organic side of things.

To be clear, I’m not saying Ownai has no satisfied customers. I’m sure they’d have canned the project already if they didn’t have at least some. I just haven’t encountered any amoung the people I interact with – and mine is an unimpressively small circle so I could be wrong about it.

Even though we write all day about traffic figures (because that’s all we can see from outside), the customer figures are actually more significant for classifieds platforms. That is the number of listings that result in a sale and hopefully a satisfied seller and buyer on either end. These are the figures that will result in organic growth driven by the word of mouth of those users.

On the issue of everyday people saying “I bought this on Ownai” or, “Iwe, you could just sell that on Ownai!”, it is interesting to consider whether people say that about any classifieds website in Zimbabwe. I don’t think they do.

I’ll share more on this in a separate article, hopefully later today. For now, it’s just fascinating what new opportunity is there and how tappable it is for the two contenders – that is Ownai and – as well as any new local players that may seize it like Tengesa attempted to some several years ago. It might even be some fast growing global player like OfferUp that takes it up.



  1. Macd Chip

    l have been looking for bore drilling companies, l got prices from everywhere even Zinwa ranging $4000 upwards.

    I checked ownai and got some relly good pricing, many choices, now:

    How does it show that lm one customer who got what he was looking when you just check the traffic statistics?

    If get a crap service from the choice l made, do l blame it to ownai or my poor judgement?

    1. L.S.M Kabweza

      If get a crap service from the choice l made, do l blame it to Ownai or my poor judgement?

      If after buying a potato from Mbare, on 3 different occasions you realised that half the bag was rotten, it’s probably your poor judgement. However you also probably begin to distrust buying potatoes from Mbare, despite the fact that you bought from a different seller each time. And collectively Mbare takes a hit no-matter how small.

  2. Candy

    Hv posted loads of adverts on Ownai with no customers coming from this site. I am more comfortable paying $5 for every ad in as i get business out of it. Sorry Ownai, i wont be posting any more ads with you till that time when we can get business out of your site. Maybe the 180k visitors are just not part of my target market!

  3. top
    1. Kb

      lol, $1 per click

    2. L.S.M Kabweza

      In your view, an article has to be either pro or anti something. sad.

  4. Peter

    Ownai is poor from my viewpoint. Firstly most of the items I have looked at say USED when clearly they are not secondly I have yet to find something that is available outside of Hre – so what is the point if you outside Hre! It seems typical of most businesses these days outside of Harare is non existent!

    1. PrisonerOfGrace

      @peter i live in kwekwe but i bought something via the website. Get your facts right. From what i have seen, sellers from most cities are advertising on the site.

  5. Up and Down

    Not so great this month, traffic down again. Also such a huge bounce rate means its not good traffic, people come to one page a leave. So thats only like 100k useful traffic to advertisers. Still they doing better than all the others except classifieds so the fight is still on.