The digital transformation of the region is nothing less than an Arabian knight tale. The expanding landscape and diverse eCommerce ecosystem are all set to lead the global eCommerce world. Countries like Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Qatar, Bahrain are the key markets that make up the core of the region.
But what it takes to be a hero this expanding e-commerce landscape?
In simple terms – Know your competitor, stay on top of the market dynamics & trends and tap the pulse of middle eastern shoppers.
By as the story unfolds it requires a deeper understanding of the Middle East e-commerce landscape. So, let’s dive deeper to understand how business can drive brands in this digital ecosystem.
Middle East eCommerce – Explore, Identify and Don’t miss out on opportunities
The Middle East region holds a special position in the global eCommerce ecosystem with rapid advancement in technology, adoption rate of eCommerce, evolving and maturing consumer behavior, and internet penetration beyond tier-1 cities in the region leading market expansion and economic growth.
Post pandemic the global eCommerce market has experienced growth beyond traditional retail channels driven by expanding number of digital shoppers. The global market expected to touch USD 6.35 trillion by 2027*. The proliferation of smartphones, high-speed internet connectivity, and the convenience of online shopping are the key contributors to the global eCommerce upswing.
The region has risen above the challenges like the limited payment options with adoption of swift payment option like direct carrier billing. The lack of trust in online retailers, and a preference for in-store shopping were also key challenges but the rise of online purchases and quality services by global brands has built brand trust across platform in middle east digital ecosystem. Such improvement in infrastructure propelling the digital expansion.
According to the Mordor Intelligence report, the size of the MENA region’s ecommerce market will almost double by 2028 compared to 2023. The expected CAGR is 11.5%, and with the MENA countries’ combined GDP of US$3.9 trillion, the region shows potential for fast growth in the ecommerce market.
Evolving Consumer Behavior
Middle East has taken the centre stage at the among the global eCommerce market with massive room for expansion as several countries in the region and tier-2 cities of the most active countries are explore the prospects of online shopping with higher access to technology and internet penetration. The support from the governments is help the region overcome major challenges like lack of trust on online retailers, preference of in-store shopping and limited payment option.
A notable shift in consumer has triggered post pandemic as shoppers turned to eCommerce platforms for daily needs, electronics, and other essential goods. Convenience, product choices and competitive marketplaces has opened new opportunities for shoppers. The market present exiting opportunities for international brands venturing into the market along with opportunities to target expatriate population with brand they are familiar with. The middle eastern young and tech-savvy population presents a vast consumer base for e-commerce expansion.
The young and tech-savvy shopping population with rising disposable income is making up a large consumer base as the market is expected to touch base with USD 50 billion by 2025. *
*Source: Deloitte | A Middle East Point of View – Summer 2023
Not just the Middle East but the entire MENA region is experiencing a massive surge in e-commerce across categories. The key drivers of this growth are rising internet penetration, rising consumer demand for value and convenience and extensive reach of e-commerce and quick commerce intelligence platforms.
Region under Gulf Cooperation council (GCC) and MENA countries like the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Egypt and African countries has grown exponentially post pandemic.
Fig 01: The top revenue generating eCommerce platforms the Middle East region |Source: Vitro Commerce (This will be illustrated as chart)
Middle East eCommerce Trends
Growth Across Categories
The shopping patterns across eCommerce platforms are different across digital ecosystem same stands for Middle East but the core difference is the purchase potential and inclination towards online shopping.
A Blend of local brands and global names
Even the biggest name in the retail market sells their product with local packaging using local language and push variants that cater the local Flavors and cultural preferences.
Adoption of digital Payments
The digital payments is one of the core challenges in the Middle east region. The rise of Direct Carrier Billing (DCB) for swift transactions along with mobile wallets is building payment ecosystem that encouraging online hopping with integration on various marketplaces.
Focus enhancing customer experience
The need of convenience is utmost need of the shoppers. With rise of value-first shoppers across digital ecosystem brands are focusing on proving seamless customer journey.
Rise of Quick commerce
The expansion of digital ecosystem demands swift delivery. The same day delivery need has led to the rise of Quick commerce intelligence platform in the middle east region.
eCommerce Future in Middle east
The future of ecommerce heavily relies on well-connected, digitally savvy audiences. And the MENA region has it all! Retail penetration in the region is now around 11–12% and keeps growing. Over 80% of buyers use mobile devices, and 70% of them use social media to reach the seller.
eCommerce in Middle East statistics and trends show that Internet penetration is close to 100%, and 80% of users already buy through the internet. This is a great target audience of potential buyers for new sellers. In general, 85% of all buyers are tech-savvy and accept paying digitally.
The population’s growing buying capabilities and the building of new ecommerce initiatives by governments suggest the MENA region has a promising and thriving ecommerce future ahead of it. This makes it perfect for those who are looking for a place to start their ecommerce business.
The opportunities in MENA region are unmatched. The wide variation in product categories and high purchase potential is the key to edge ahead in the region. The local players, the well-known brands are swiftly turning from shopping store to digital shelf, which international players are making their space among the vast landscape of MENA region. The Middle East is running high on tech-savvy shoppers while North African region is joining the e-commerce wave with improving infrastructure and internet penetration. To stand tall in this competitive market brands need to build business intelligence across platforms and competition. The data-driven approach with insights guiding cross-department functions can help brand propel in digital commerce ecosystem. With mScanIt, digital commerce intelligence suit brands can monitor and optimize their brands performance across e-commerce landscape. Join on the journey of growth in Middle East with digital commerce intelligence and build the success story for your brand in the regions.
Note: The article is more about countries in the Gulf region as they have more e-commerce penetration. The countries located further North (besides Jordan) have not emerged in the market yet. Even Lebanon, a very developed country, has no e-commerce.
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