Some Arab businesses are still far from the practice of e-commerce, as most of the Arab countries are still lagging behind online transactions, and that the total current Arab spending does not exceed $95 million annually through e-commerce. On the other hand, many Arab countries are trying to follow the latest developments in the field of information and communication technology. These countries have begun to rely on e-business and e-commerce as a logic for dealing in the markets, some of these countries include the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Jordan.
Many people are using the Internet for various direct purchases, such as hotel reservations, flight tickets, hardware, and even everyday lifestyle requirements. According to a study by Mall for the World, the Middle East and Africa online shopping platform is convenient, fast and secure .
The electronic platform predicted that the volume of online shopping will reach $900 billion by 2020, pointing out that there are a few trends. The features of e-commerce during the coming period are as follows:
- Cross-border trade: Retail trade is expected to grow from $300 billion to $900 billion, double the growth rate of local e-commerce. Customers want ways to buy goods from other countries and see the world as an open store.
- Availability of coupon codes and discounts in the middle east to promote online shopping instead of physical shops which have the tendency to attract the attention of price-driven shoppers.
- Customized dynamic data: Sites provide user-specific home pages to help customers shop faster, find items and products more effectively, and get what they want with minimal clicks on online shopping sites.
- Switch to “click and choose” mode: Shops turn into automatic delivery locations, automatic warehouses, etc. Many easy and fast ways to give users the best shopping experience and product delivery of all times.
- E-commerce on social networking sites is still in the lead: With the recommendations of amazing influencers and friends, many shoppers now rely on social networking sites to get inspired for their upcoming e-shopping experiences.
- Mobile payment: (m-commerce) Internet connected smartphone sales have increased significantly over the past years. With the launch of the Android operating system platforms, the popularity of smart phone payment has grown as security has increased dramatically, The volume of telephone payments (m-commerce) reached about $50.92 billion.
- A dramatic surge in online and in store sales during Black Friday i.e White Friday in the Middle East (الجمعة البيضاء في مصر والخليج).
Additionally a recent study in the Middle East, found that 48% of GCC residents prefer online shopping, with 33% believing that online shopping is as safe or has the same safety levels as when shopping at traditional stores. The Arab Union for e-commerce revealed last month that the current share of the global e-commerce market represents only 1%. However, the results of the survey highlight the potential for e-commerce to boom and prosper in the Middle East region.
The current appetite for online shopping in the Middle East is a promising opportunity for international and regional investors in the e-commerce industry. The Arab Union for e-commerce will play a pivotal role in supporting and advising the public and private sectors in the Arab countries to ensure continued growth and further development of e-commerce in the region, and strive to gain an appropriate global share of the digital industry.
Although Gulf residents are ready to embrace e-commerce in full, 34% of the respondents said that poor confidence in the security of payments prevents them from shopping online. 29% of respondents in the UAE feel that traditional shopping is safer, while only 33% say that online shopping is equally on the security side.
The current and projected growth of e-commerce in the region has encouraged the development of digital payment experiences. The demand for optimal payment experience in terms of speed, convenience, multi-channel access and security – is growing rapidly. The key to ensuring customer satisfaction is to deliver a seamless experience through secure and innovative payment solutions. E-commerce is a global hot topic, and the key players in the industry are becoming increasingly interested in the Middle East.