Published: 2020-05-22

Page: 40-53


College of Business and Management Sciences, Makerere University, P.O. Box 7062, Kampala, Uganda.


College of Business and Management Sciences, Makerere University, P.O. Box 7062, Kampala, Uganda.

*Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.


Electronic Commerce (E-Commerce) adoption is known to significantly influence the growth of Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs). It offers feasible and practical solutions for organizations to meet the challenges of a predominantly dynamic environment. However, available studies related to SMEs in developing countries, including Uganda, reveal that SMEs are slow in adopting e-commerce. Against that backdrop, this study set out with the following study aims: to identify the potential benefits of e-commerce to confectionery stores in Kampala City; to identify barriers to the adoption of e-commerce by confectionery stores in Kampala City; and to make recommendations on how best the barriers affecting the adoption of e-commerce by confectionery stores can be solved. The study employed a qualitative approach and a multiple case studies model, collecting empirical data through semi-structured interviews. Findings reveal that there are multiple potential benefits of e-commerce to SMEs in the Ugandan context, but these are eclipsed by a good number of mostly systemic impediments. By describing the situation surrounding the adoption of e-commerce in the case of confectionery stores in Kampala, this article might generate ideas necessary for the improvement of the e-trade environment not only in Uganda but also in some other developing countries.

Keywords: Electronic commerce, small and medium enterprises, benefits of e-commerce

How to Cite

KATUMBA, P. M., & RUKUNDO, B. R. (2020). BENEFITS AND BARRIERS TO THE ADOPTION OF E-COMMERCE BY SMES IN UGANDA. Journal of Global Economics, Management and Business Research, 12(2), 40–53. Retrieved from


Download data is not yet available.


Nangoli S, Turinawe DD, Kituyi GM, Kusemererwa C, Jaaza M. Towards enhancing business survival and growth rates in LDCs: An exploratory study of the drivers of business failure among SMEs in Kampala- Uganda. International Journal of Humanities and Social Science. 2013;3(8):284-291.

Mukherjee S, E-commerce and SMEs: A Case Study of India. International Journal of Commerce, Business and Management. 2017;6(2):2319–2828.

International Trade Centre. International E-Commerce in Africa: The Way Forward. Geneva: International Trade Centre.

United nations conference on trade and development. Information economy report 2015: Unlocking the potential of E-commerce for developing countries. Switzerland: UN Publications. 2015;4-20.

Wanzu I, Turyakira P, Katumba MP. E-commerce adoption and growth of SMEs in Uganda. International Journal of Business and Management. Canada: Canadian Center of Science and Education. 2019;14(1): 46-54.

Ndyali L. Adaptation and barriers of E-commerce in Tanzania SMEs. Developing Country Studies. 2013; 3(4).

eNET Internet Research and Consulting Ltd. Online stores “Robust market growth”. Budapest: eNET Internet Research and Consulting Ltd; 2007.

Hosting facts. Internet Statistics & Facts for 2017. Tallinn: Hosting Facts; 2017.

Turyahikayo, E. Challenges faced by small and medium enterprises in raising finance in Uganda. International Journal of Public Administration and Management Research (IJPAMR). 2015;3(2):21-33.

Abd. Mukti N. Barriers to putting businesses on the Internet in Malaysia. The Electronic Journal of Information Systems in Developing Countries. 2000;2(1):1-6.

Leena N. Cyber crime effecting E-commerce technology. Oriental Journal of Computer Science & Technology. 2011;4(1): 209-212.

Walugembe A, Sebunya A, Mubiru P, Ntayi JM. A study on customers’ perception and readiness to accept E-shopping in Uganda. Journal of Educational Policy and Entrepreneurial Research. 2015;2(6):23-34.

Mohamed A, Jenal R, Hanawi AS. The impact of E-commerce adoption for SMEs in developing countries: A case study of Uganda. Journal of Theoretical and Applied Information Technology. 2018;96 (18).

Rahayu R, Day J. E-commerce adoption by SMEs in developing countries: Evidence from Indonesia. Eurasian Bus Rev. 2017;7:25–41.

United Nations Industrial Development Organization. E-commerce Development Report of the Small and Medium Sized Enterprises of BRICS Countries. Switzerland: UN Publications; 2018.

Abou-Shouk M, Eraqi IM. Perceived barriers to E-commerce adoption in SMEs in developing countries: The case of travel agents in Egypt. International Journal of Services and Operations Management. 2015; 21(3):332-353.

Kurnia S, Choudrie J, Mahbubur RM, Alzougool B. E-commerce technology adoption: A Malaysian grocery SME retail sector study. Journal of Business Research. 2015;68:1906-1918.

Faloye OD. The adoption of E-commerce in small businesses: An empirical evidence from retail sector in Nigeria. Journal of Business and Retail Management Research (JBRMR). 2014;8(2).

Rumanyika DJ, Mashenene GR. Impediments of E-commerce adoption among small and medium enterprises in Tanzania: A review. International Journal of Information Technology and Business Management. 2014;32(1):45-55.

Tan KS, Chong SC, Lin B, Eze UC. Internet-based ICT adoption: Evidence from Malaysian SMEs. Industrial Management & Data Systems. 2009;109(2):224-244.

Stockdale R, Standing C. Benefits and barriers of electronic marketplace participation: An SME perspective. Journal of Enterprise Information Management. 2004;17(4):301-311.

Chau S. The use of E-commerce amongst Thirty-four Australian SMEs: An experiment or a strategic business tool? Journal of Systems and Information Technology. 2003;7(1–2):49–66.

Garg KA, Choeu T. The adoption of electronic commerce by SMEs in Pretoria East. The Electronic Journal of Information Systems in Developing Countries. 2015;68(7):1-23.

Wanjau K, Macharia N, Ayodo R, Eunice M. Factors affecting adoption of electronic commerce among small medium enterprises in Kenya: Survey of Tour and Travel Firms in Nairobi; 2009.

Kartiwi M, Hussin H, Suhaimi AM, Razi M, Jalaldeen M, Amin RM. Impact of external factors on determining E-commerce benefits among SMEs in Malaysia. Journal of Global Entrepreneurship Research. 2018;8:18.

Zaied A. Barriers to E-commerce adoption in Egyptian SMEs. International Journal of Information Engineering and Electronic Business. 2012;4(3):9-18.