Best import business in Kenya – 2019 update


When speaking about the best import business in Kenya, we are talking about the business which are individually managed. The government does not get involved in this business but only regulates.

So you want to start buying and selling import products in Kenya. Well, you have come to the right place. Import business in Kenya has now become considerably easy and cheap thanks to the internet and the growth in technology.

Nowadays, you can start importing your goods from sites like Alibaba, Aliexpress, and ship to Kenya at an affordable price.

The best thing about these sites is that there’s a minimum number of goods you can order. The shipping fee is also included. Therefore, you don’t need to worry about capital.

How do I start the best import business in Kenya

Have a Business Name

First and foremost, you have to have a business name before you start trading. Overseas companies will need your business name and address in order to send the goods to you. If you don’t know how to set up a business name, feel free to see the full blog on how to register a company in Kenya.

Choose a Product and a Platform to Sell.

After you have successfully set up your business, its time to decide on a product. Choose one product and stick with it. You may choose your products from the list below, see which one suits you.

Once you have your product, its time to set up your selling platform. Gone are the days where sellers had to sell the wares in the market. With modern day technology, you can set your shop anywhere anytime provided that the right customers know how to find you.

You can decide to sell your goods online on Jumia, on Whats App groups, and the popular social media outlets i.e Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. Well, these social media platforms require you to establish a base like a fun page where you can showcase your merchandise.

Find a Supplier

Best import business in Kenya

Now that steps 1 & 2 are over, let’s find the supplier. Here, you have to find suppliers who are trustworthy and reputable, you can outsource them from sites like and AliExpress among others. You can read about how to shop on Amazon and ship to Kenya or How to Shop from Aliexpress in Kenya find how to contact your supplier for the first time.

To sum up, on how to start an import business in Kenya, the next step will be to set the price of your product. There is a formula to this.

The basic business model for an import business is commonly based on two key factors within the international sales operation. These factors are:

  1. Volume i.e – the number of units sold.
  2. Commission on that volume.

Your goal here will be to price your merchandise in such a way that your commission (markup on the product to customers) does not exceed what your customer is willing to pay and thus offering you a healthy profit.

Basically, importers and exporters take a 10% to 15% markup over the cost, which is the price the manufacturer charges you when you buy a product from them.

Remember, the more you sell, the more you profit. And always keep your product pricing separate from shipping costs. See List of Shipping Companies in Kenya. You can also read about Shipping from the USA to Kenya; Best shipping Companies to use later on.

Did I forget to mention that you need a computer or a mobile phone with access to the internet, how else are you gonna shop?

List of Best Import Business in Kenya

First things first, the law. Find out more about the Import requirements and documentation required by the government of Kenya. Click on the link above to find out what is required of you to be on the safe side of the law.

Here is the full list of top products that you can import cheaply and easily. Most of the products below require shipping by plane. This list was made in no particular order with regards to the product in question.

1. Foodstuff

This is one of the most lucrative business, Kenya mainly imports rice and wheat products from Pakistan, Italy, and China to meet its consumer threshold of the above products. Other products in this category include grains and sugar. However, their popularity has gone down due to government and cartels interference.

2. Beauty Products

Makeup products

This type of business never goes out of fashion but continues to evolve and thrive. There is a ready market for this particular product.

One only requires to establish a good customer base and you’re good to go. However, this niche is quite big and in order to be successful one has to pick a specific product and focus on it entirely. If you diversify, you lose.

Products in this category include;

  • Hair and hair products.
  • Skin care products
  • Jewelry
  • Makeup products among others.

3. Auto Spare Parts

This used to be one of the biggest import business until recently KEBS Kenya imposed a ban on the used car spare parts.

These parts include spares like brake pads, clutch cables, bearings, tires, brake hose pipes, filters, ball joints, and pressure plates among other parts are to be imported only as new.

4. Household Items

imports in this category vary, and here again, you have to be specific on what you want to import. You may focus on importing kitchen wares, bedding’s house decor or electrical fittings.

5. Electronics and Consumables

This is currently the best trending import business in Kenya, perhaps because these products are complementary. Products vary from mobile phones and accessories, computer and accessories and household electronics among others.

You may also read; List of Business to start with 20K in Kenya.

6. Toys and Fancy Gadgets

This Niche focuses on middle-class Kenyan citizen who loves to show up the latest gadget available. Currently, its a low-risk venture with high returns if you happen to establish a long reliable customer base.

7. Shoes and Handbags

Who doesn’t wear shoes, am pretty sure everyone does. Kids and ladies shoe business do well in this niche. Men don’t buy shoes on a monthly basis, So, if you’re looking to focus on this particular venture, then, I strongly recommend you focus your business on ladies stuff.

In addition to the above businesses, you can also start importing goods such as Machine spare parts, clothes, and pesticides among other things. A mentioned earlier, our list isn’t comprehensive we’ve just given you a tip of the iceberg of what it is to start importing and selling stuff.

Finally, starting an imports business in Kenya isn’t that hard as it used to be if importing isn’t your thing, there is yet another venture called drop-shipping. You can read more about this venture on our previous article on How To Start a Drop-shipping Business in Kenya

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