Fast-moving consumers goods sales boom in UAE and Saudi Arabia, NielsenIQ reveals

Online share in fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) sales has been surging worldwide, with the trend reaching its peak during the last two years. In the UAE and Saudi Arabia, e-commerce appears to have become the foundation for the future growth of the segment.

New research by NielsenIQ, a global leader in audience insights, data and analytics, demonstrates that the e-commerce channel in the UAE has risen by 68 per cent over the last 12 months and by 58 per cent in Saudi Arabia. With this robust growth in the two key GCC markets, FMCG sales online sales have reached SAR1.8 billion in Saudi Arabia, accounting for 2-4 per cent of the overall FMCG space. In the UAE, e-commerce boasts an even higher share at 4-6 per cent of a market size of AED1.5 billion.

General manager in Arabian Peninsula and Pakistan at NielsenIQ, Andrey Dvoychenkov, said: “Online shopping penetration and sales are still rising strongly in the region even in the post-pandemic sequence. With this appetite from consumers and retailers’ initiatives, we are seeing big opportunities and obvious signs for further growth.”

As hypermarkets and supermarkets are grappling with a decline in footfall this year, the online channel comes to the fore.

Each FMCG department has witnessed double-digit growth in e-commerce this year, experiencing a jump from +39 per cent for personal care to + 89 per cent for laundry products in Saudi Arabia.

In the UAE, frozen food has been the fastest growing category, registering a rise of + 112 per cent, while homecare products showed feeble growth, standing at + 50 per cent compared to the previous year. Juice and milk drinks are the leaders of online sales, seeing a surge of +176 per cent compared to the last year, simultaneously expanding across the country with a strong +29 per cent.

Last May, during the Ramadan season, consumers in the GCC were interested in primarily FMCG, according to the Evolving Consumer Behaviour in the GCC During Ramadan 2022 report by consumer intelligence company Talkwalker and market research and data analytics firm YouGov Mena.