Middle Eastern countries have high levels of income, but the region has been infiltrated as an e-commerce market. The lack of competition in online shopping in the Middle East caught the industry’s attention when Amazon bought Souq.com, a local online marketplace, which is very popular amongst local people.
There were already a handful of big online shopping players in the Middle Eastern market like Namshi, Mumzworld, Souq, Noon, Centrepoint, Max fashion, Ounass, and a few more before Amazon came in.
According to a report by BMI Research, the Middle East is one of the fastest-growing e-commerce markets in the world. Digital commerce accounted for more than 20 percent of total e-commerce sales in 2016, up from 10 percent in 2015 and up to 30 percent by 2020.
Of this, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) accounted for $19.8 billion, with nearly 88% of the UAE’s population currently in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA), the region’s largest e-commerce market. The same report also indicates that sales in the region would rise from $4.3 billion in 2020 to $22 billion. 3 billion in 2016, compared with just over $1.5 billion at the end of 2015.
There is no shortage of luxury shopping in the United Arab Emirates, but that has not stopped Amazon from infiltrating the Middle East retail landscape. It is hard to believe that the Seattle-based company entered the market by acquiring a Dubai-based e-commerce platform, Souq, which translates into a market
The younger generation in the Middle East is also using social media to find new products, exchange information about them, and eventually, make purchases over the Internet. Companies selling products such as clothing, footwear, accessories, and other consumer goods tend to achieve the best results, as the customer is already aware of these kinds of shopping habits and doesn’t need extra information or teaching regarding the products.
Middle Eastern shoppers tend to use mobile phones more to shop and are the most important way to shop online. Cash on delivery is currently the most popular method of online shopping in the Middle East and North Africa.
Souq.com, which was acquired by Amazon and is known as Amazon.ae (for UAE) and Amazon.sa(for KSA), is the largest e-commerce company in the Middle East and North Africa
In the Middle East, the most popular online selling categories consist of health, beauty, perfumes, baby products, fashion, and pet food.