The UAE’s E-commerce Market
Past, Present, and Future
Is the UAE the best place to start or expand your e-commerce business? Definitely. The UAE has grown into the most digital-friendly country in the Middle East with over 99% of the population actively using the internet at an average of almost 8 hours per day.
In fact, with top e-commerce sites in the UAE like souq.com and cobone.com, e-commerce here is growing at a rate of over 20% every year. Who wouldn’t want a piece of that?
So, how did the country’s e-commerce get to where it is now, and where will it likely go in the future? Let’s find out.
The e-commerce market in the past:
In the UAE in 2009, most people weren’t jumping online to buy dinner or pay bills. Many things were done just as they had been before — by standing in line. Of course, all of that has changed in the last ten years.
Whether it’s the omnipresence of giant malls, easily obtainable credit/debit cards, or mobile devices at everyone’s fingertips, people here are spending like crazy, and 62% of us do it online. Take UAE millennials for example — they are driving e-commerce growth and doing it faster and better than many of their global counterparts.
Look at it this way — according to global market researchers Euromonitor, from 2013 to 2017, online retail sales in the UAE grew by 108%, in just four years! If that UAE e-commerce statistic doesn’t make you want to get in, we don’t know what will.
The e-commerce market in the present:
One reason online shopping has exploded in the UAE is due to secure internet platforms. In one of the safest countries in the world, it makes sense that consumers have confidence and trust in online transactions. Check out just a few examples:
It’s not just consumers who have faith in e-commerce, so does the government. Remember the last time you waited in a queue to pay your Etisalat, Du, RTA, or DEWA bills? Neither do we. E-governance initiatives make it super safe and easy to pay all of these things online in a matter of minutes.
Social media effect:
People in the UAE love to go on social media to write reviews. Word of mouth in the digital age is faster than the speed of sound. So what better way to get positive product reviews for your e-commerce business than by having an online presence via social media.
Digitization in food delivery:
Speaking of reviews, which restaurant is best for burger delivery? Which pizza place can get to the house the fastest? Online food delivery is a growing part of e-commerce in the Emirates. Go check out talabat.com or zomato.com to see how many reviews are left by customers — if a restaurant isn’t doing delivery via one of these platforms, it may as well not be delivering at all.
And it’s not just within the UAE that residents are using e-commerce — in the past year, online consumers who shopped on international websites almost doubled to 61%.
Plus, sellers from the US, UK, and China are loving bringing their sales to the UAE. As stated by Rabih Allaf, the Growth Director of Fetchr, “we see the vast majority of our clients establishing themselves in Dubai first because it has the best regulations”.
From Dubai, many e-commerce businesses can expand to other GCC countries and beyond. The Emirates have simple e-commerce regulations, so starting an online store in the UAE is super easy, as we’ve outlined in this article.
The e-commerce market in the future:
Looking ahead, e-commerce growth statistics in the UAE will continue to increase rapidly to over AED100 billion by 2020. If you’re a potential business owner or new to the game, why not start somewhere with a strong e-commerce presence and a growing market of online consumers?
Now is the time to consider expanding your e-commerce business into the UAE. Dubai isn’t just a physical port of entry for sellers anymore; it’s a digital one.
We are Fetchr; a company specialized in e-fulfillment. We help e-commerce entrepreneurs grow their business in the Middle East. Let’s make it happen! One box at a time. Learn more here.
To read the Arabic version of this blog, click here.
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This blog is intended for informational purposes only, and should not be considered business or legal advice. MENA 360 DWC-LLC (Fetchr) will not be held liable for the use, non-use or misapplication of this information, lost profits, personal or business interruption, or any other loss.