Social media commerce will benefit SMEs in the region, says report

Connected commerce (c-commerce), sales made through social and communications media, could account for 40 per cent of the region’s total retail market, which is valued at $1 trillion, according to the C-Commerce MENA Report 2022 by Zbooni, c-commerce platform operating in the Middle East and North Africa.

“We are at the cusp of an exciting retail transformation built around personalised selling,” said Ramy Assaf, CEO and co-founder of Zbooni.

“C-Commerce has the potential to serve businesses across a wide variety of industries, whether they are brick-and-mortar, online-only or omnichannel.

Analysis of data showed that 20 per cent of shoppers in the region have made purchases through social media or messaging channels, such as WhatsApp.

With users’ social media activity averaging three hours per day in the region, 54 per cent of shoppers want to chat with brands the same way they do so with friends.

“Wherever there is an interaction before a transaction, c-commerce can help.”

While the sales conversion rate on e-commerce marketplaces was calculated to be 2.86 per cent, c-commerce sales showed an 84.9 per cent conversion rate.

“The Middle East and North Africa missed the initial wave of e-commerce and has been playing catch-up, but the region is geared up to take full advantage of c-commerce,” said Mr Assaf.

“Most people in the Middle East and North Africa use social and chat apps frequently every day, and c-commerce is a natural evolution towards shopping in the same way we chat with friends.

The report stated that 84 per cent of youth in the region strive to be entrepreneurs.

Zbooni estimates that c-commerce will benefit over 20 million micro, small and medium enterprises.

“For businesses, it opens a whole new avenue for engaging customers and maximising sales. In this way, c-commerce could quickly surpass e-commerce as the region’s preferred way of retailing,” Mr Assaf added.

The report was collated with data and contributions from Chalhoub Group, luxury retail operator, TikTok, social media platform, and, international financial technology start-up processing payments for other companies.