The E-Commerce market in Central Asia and Caucasus is at its infancy, remaining at below 2% of total retail sales even in the leading countries in the region such as Kazakhstan and Azerbaijan. Nevertheless, increasing Internet penetration and significant developments in the logistics and payment infrastructure signal vast potential for future growth.
While still relatively low, Internet penetration in the countries in the region has been continuously improving over the last five years, reaching over half of the population in Kazakhstan and Azerbaijan in 2014, and approaching that share in several other countries, among which are Georgia and Armenia. At the same time, the payment infrastructure in the region is developing rapidly, with increasing availability and use of non-cash methods, such as credit and debit cards, as well as improved access to financial services and online banking throughout the region. The use of bank cards in online purchases on local E-Commerce websites more than doubled in Kazakhstan, the region’s most developed market, from 2012 to 2014. In Uzbekistan, the number of Internet payment transactions increased dramatically in a twelve month period, rising from below 100 thousand to reach over 3 million in late 2014. The volume of non-cash payment transactions is also rising in Georgia.
In addition to the Internet and payment developments, several countries in the region, among which are Armenia and Tajikistan, enhanced their performance for another key B2C E-Commerce factor – logistics infrastructure. Further advances in the area of logistics and delivery are likely to remain critical for unravelling the potential for E-Commerce throughout the region. This is especially relevant in countries such as Azerbaijan and Georgia, where international E-Commerce websites such as Amazon, eBay and Aliexpress attracted significant website traffic.
More details on this topic are available in our reports about this developing region: “Central Asia and Caucasus B2C E-Commerce Market 2015” and “Kazakhstan B2C E-Commerce Market 2015”.