Egypt’s corner shops—known as koshks—are vital to the local economy
We spoke with 205 corner shop owners and 214 of their customers. Here’s what we heard.
Egypt’s corner shops are here to stay: 93% of customers plan to shop as much or more
“I have a long relationship with the owner. I trust him and consider him a friend.”
“I’ve known the owner for years. He’s a very generous man and I love buying from him.”
Customers shop frequently at their local corner shop, while only 10% shop online for their groceries
The corner shop plays a valuable role in the community, providing convenience, customer service, and credit
“My corner shop is very near my home, and I know the people working here. I trust them when I ask about product quality.”
Shopkeepers are adopting digital tools and are eager for more
Less than half of shopkeepers say they are very comfortable with digital tools
“I have trouble using digital apps but my son uses them and helps me in the store.”
22% of customers had no complaints with their corner shop, while others cited a desire for more product variety
Photo courtesy of MaxAB
Purchasing and managing inventory are shopkeepers’ biggest pain points in running their stores
“I worry about my inventory expiring. It’s hard to make sure I’m stocking the right things on my shelves.”
Egypt’s corner shops remain almost exclusively cash-based, and a third of shopkeepers offer credit tabs to their customers
“The majority of my customers have a credit tab in my store, and this is a major challenge for me.”
Platforms such as MaxAB are addressing this digital payments and credit gap through embedded financial services
Embedded finance can unlock opportunities that have eluded traditional banks for centuries
Egypt’s corner shop merchants have ambitions to grow and improve their stores so they can continue to play a vital role in their communities. At Flourish, we believe digital platforms have an opportunity to support them in this journey.
Merchant and Customer Voices: Who We Spoke To
205 Koshk Merchants
13% Less than 1 year
17% 1–2 years
16% 2–3 years
13% 3–5 years
41% 5+ years
NUMBER OF SKUs
95% Less than 500
214 Koshk Customers
ABOUT THIS REPORT
Flourish Ventures launched this research to better understand corner shops across the globe and share learnings on how digital firms can serve their needs.
In partnership with research firm 60 Decibels and B2B e-commerce platform MaxAB, we surveyed 205 Egyptian corner shop owners and 214 of their customers to learn firsthand about their business pain points, competitive threats, aspirations, and digital behaviors.
Authors: Ameya Upadhyay, Efayomi Carr, Stella Klemperer
Flourish is a global venture firm investing in entrepreneurs whose innovations advance economic opportunity and financial health for individuals and small businesses. We partner with industry leaders in research, policy, and regulation to better understand the underserved and help foster a fair, more inclusive economy.
60 Decibels is a tech-enabled social impact measurement and customer insights company working in over 75 countries. They combine deep impact measurement expertise, an integrated technology backbone, and a global network of 900+ researchers to make it easy for companies and organizations to listen to the people who matter most.
MaxAB is a B2B e-commerce marketplace and fintech platform that connects food and grocery retailers to suppliers in Egypt’s most underserved geographies.