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E-commerce in the United Arab Emirates - statistics & facts

The global e-commerce market has grown dramatically over the past years, transforming the dynamics of consumer behavior and business models in various industries. In the retail sector, the global e-commerce market is expected to continue growing between 2020 and 2024. Following the same trend as the global outlook, the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region has witnessed huge development in the e-commerce market, with high potential for further growth lying ahead. In the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) region particularly, high per capita income, established logistics networks, in addition to a growing tech-savvy young population offer high spending potential. A region powerhouse, the UAE accounted for the largest e-commerce penetration share of total retail in MENA in 2017.

 The rise of e-commerce in the UAE 

The country’s recent efforts at economic diversification to decrease reliance on oil exports’ revenues have proven successful in building and maintaining a strong economic ecosystem, which has driven investments and created job opportunities, thus attracting global talents. Furthermore, it facilitated fast adoption and innovation, enabling the UAE’s e-commerce growth. Another factor contributing to such growth is the high social media activity of the population, where almost all inhabitants were active on social media in 2019.The active social media population in Saudi Arabia, in comparison, was around two-thirds of that of the UAE. The e-commerce industry in the country is not limited to retail, several industries have demonstrated an increase in e-commerce volume shares such as entertainment, travel services, and airlines.  

 Consumer behavior

   E-commerce consumers in the UAE enjoy a variety of online shopping websites including Amazon – formerly Souq which was acquired by Amazon in 2017, Groupon, Supermart, and Namshi. With such platform presence and the global transformation of online capability, customer expectations have increased regarding transparency and customer experience. According to a consumer survey, around half of online shoppers reported that free returns is a crucial factor in their purchase decisions. Besides the fashion and food sectors, more consumers have been recently shifting to everyday e-commerce spends in various sectors such as business services, and government services and education.

Interesting statistics

In the following 5 chapters, you will quickly find the {amountStatistics} most important statistics relating to "E-commerce in the United Arab Emirates".

E-commerce in the United Arab Emirates

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UAE market

E-commerce categories

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