E-commerce in Mena is booming

E-commerce in the Mena region has segued into a growth phase, with opportunities for e-commerce players on the sharp rise, according to the Digital Transformation in MENA 2022 report.

Published by global payment solutions provider Checkout.com, the study demonstrates why the surge in e-commerce and digital transformation, sparked by Covid-19 restrictions, is here to stay.

In the past three years, e-commerce has been skyrocketing in the Mena region, with the UAE the main contributor. An estimated 209 million consumers transitioned to online shopping during this period.

According to the report, 91 per cent of 5,500 shoppers surveyed across the region reported shopping online on a regular basis,  an increase from 87 per cent last year. Additionally, 52 per cent of residents in the Mena region said they have shopped more this year.

Across the GCC region, the percentage of consumers who tend to shop online at least once per day increased by 50 per cent during the year.

And these trends are here to stay, as 88 per cent of respondents across the Mena region claim they plan to increase their online purchases over the next year.

Another factor for the steady growth is the unremitting appeal of digital payments to tech-savvy consumers across the GCC region, which bodes well for nascent fintech SMEs. Eighty per cent of GCC consumers reportedly opt for digital payment methods.

These results are in line with the drastic uptick in payment apps and digital wallets across the region.

Countries like Egypt, Qatar and Saudi have seen the popularity of digital wallets increase twofold. Simultaneously, the use of the cash-on-delivery option has plummeted, registering a 40 per cent fall during the past two years. Furthermore, the number of Saudis who favour cash as a payment method declined by seven per cent this year.

Vice president for Mena at Checkout.com, Remo Giovanni Abbondandolo, said: “The report validates our conclusions from last year – that the region’s e-commerce and digital payment ecosystem is growing rapidly.

“The combination of a digitally-savvy population and a mature retail sector will ensure these gains are sustained in the long run. Additionally, the growing trust in online payments by regional shoppers means the digital transformation of the region’s retail sector is well underway.

“This is underlined by the emergence of Web3 as a key component of the online experience, with shoppers showing a significant appetite for transacting on-chain, and a desire both to be paid and to pay in digital currencies.”