E-commerce in Middle East – Statistics and Trends [Infographic]

Apr 26, 2021

E-commerce in the middle east is experiencing a fast growth rate. Gulf states have an estimation of about quadruple of their e-commerce profit from 2015 to 2020. They had a record of about $5 billion in profit in 2015 and $20 billion in 2020. Even with almost 90% of their online goods being imported from other countries, there is still a report of increasing profits in the e-commerce sector.

E-commerce in Middle East

E-commerce in UAE has taken a swift turn as 48% of consumers get their shopping ideas online. E-commerce in Dubai has taken a turn for an increase as several Dubai e-commerce sites provide these services. There are several e-commerce companies in Dubai and various e-commerce websites in the UAE and other Middle East countries. The growth of the e-commerce sector in this region is highly significant, with an estimated 25% increase in e-commerce companies causing a higher global penetration.

Global e-commerce to expand by $1.4tn by 2025

Estimated Retail E-commerce Sales in MENA

Year Retail E-commerce Sales (in Billions)
2015 $22.20
2016 $28.12
2017 $34.06
2018 $40.46
2019 $48.66
2020 $55.40 (F)

Online sales in the Middle East currently equal only a meager 2% of total retail revenue

E-commerce penetration as %age of total retail sales

Region E-commerce penetration as %age of Total Retail sales
MENA region 1.9%
GCC countries 3%
UAE 4.2%
Saudi Arabia 3.8%
Egypt 2.5%

Estimated E-commerce User Penetration in 2021

Country %age
Saudi Arabia 80.20%
UAE 69.40%
Cyprus 61.30%
Qatar 62.10%
Kuwait 58.30%
Bahrain 56.40%
Iran 52.40%
Turkey 48.00%
Oman 48.00%
Israel 47.40%
Egypt 46.50%
Jordan 34.90%

85% of consumers in the UAE and 80% in KSA use mobile devices to get information about the products they intend to buy.

61% of shoppers in GCC use cards for online transactions.

In 2020, 44% of online purchases in MENA were made using the card, compared to 23% cash purchases.

30% of consumers in MENA used COD as a payment method in May 2020.

Almost 56% of consumers in the UAE, KSA and Egypt start their online shopping journeys using search engines as opposed to retailers’ websites

More than 60% of shoppers in the UAE and KSA and 43% in Egypt have completed an online transaction at least once

62% of MENA online shoppers prefer COD as a payment method when buying online

Top reasons why Middle East consumers will prefer to shop online Post-COVID

Reason %age
Quality 51%
Health 44%
Affordability 39%

Almost 90% of online purchases are shipped from abroad

Electronics, Fashion & Beauty, Grocery, and Home products make up 98% of the e-commerce market in UAE and Saudi Arabia.

On average, UAE shoppers spend $122 per e-commerce transaction. GCC shoppers spend USD$150 on average per shopping cart

In 2020, the average consumer in the Middle East spent an estimated $817.11 shopping online.

Country E-commerce Spending per Shopper 2020
UAE  $ 3,104.00
Qatar  $ 1,488.00
Israel  $ 1,181.00
Saudia Arabia  $     527.00
Turkey  $     475.00

E-commerce growth occurred as a result of the high internet usage by the Middle East populace. Middle East countries like Iran and Egypt have high internet users with 56,700,000 and 48,211,493 users, respectively. There is also a mouth-gaping record with Bahrain in 2017, where 98% of their population used the internet, sweeping past France and the USA. Middle East countries experience an annual e-commerce growth of 23% from 2018 to 2021.

The coronavirus outbreak contributed to the growth of the e-commerce sector in the middle east, as over 40% of respondents started shopping online more than they did before the outbreak. In MENA, the estimated e-commerce sales in 2021 are about $49 billion. E-commerce in UAE has a total retail sales percentage of 4.2%.

Sources -

E-Commerce in the Middle East

Ecommerce in MENA expected to reach $28.5 billion by 2022: report







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