Germany-based yStats.com, a leading secondary market research company with a focus on global online retail and payments, has published a new report, “MENA B2C E-Commerce Market 2018”. The publication covers eleven countries from this region, detailing the key market characteristics, trends and statistics. A common finding across all included countries is strong growth in online retail sales.
The region of the Middle East and North Africa, or MENA, is home to several fast growing online retail markets. According to the yStats.com report, increased Internet and smartphone penetration rates, along with wider adoption of online shopping among connected consumers, is stimulating this rapid growth. At the same time, in most countries of MENA, B2C E-Commerce has a long way to reaching its full potential, as it currently accounts for low single-digit shares of local retail sales.
The top two B2C E-Commerce markets in MENA are the UAE and Saudi Arabia. M-Commerce is a strong trend in both countries, with smartphone becoming the top device used by consumers to access the Internet, according to surveys cited by yStats.com. Although lagging behind the UAE, Saudi Arabia and many other Middle Eastern countries in Internet and smartphone penetration rates, Egypt also shows a strong growth potential for B2C E-Commerce. The country’s government introduced a national E-Commerce strategy aimed at doubling the number of online sellers by 2020, with B2C E-Commerce sales expected to see double-digit growth rates in the same time period.
Israel is another major online retail market in the MENA region. The key market trend in this country is cross-border online shopping, with a major share of the nation’s E-Commerce spending taking place on foreign sites such as Amazon and Alibaba, according to market data cited in the yStats.com report. In comparison, the majority of online shoppers in Morocco buy on local sites, with only around one in four buyers choosing international sellers.
Other major markets in MENA, such as Lebanon, Qatar, Bahrain, Oman, Kuwait and Iran are also experiencing solid growth in online retail sales. In Oman and Bahrain, for example, retail E-Commerce sales are projected to nearly quadruple between 2015 and 2020, according to forecasts included in the yStats.com report. Local and international E-Commerce merchants, such as Amazon’s Souq.com, Jumia, Digikala, and others, are active in the region, aiming to tap into these expanding markets.