The Exponential Growth of Online Shopping in the Middle East

4187The Middle East is among the most dynamic regions embracing online shopping, the highest being the UAE, where around 51% (1) of people are shopping online. The industry is growing exponentially, with a reported 30 million (2) people in the Middle East shopping online, and the market is expected to grow to $15 billion by 2015. With this high demand, local, regional, and global e-merchants are competing to cater to the increasing needs of the region’s buyers.

This June, one of the main themes of the ArabNet Digital Summit 2014 will explore the latest e-commerce trends including: e-retail, e-grocery, global e-commerce, Bitcoin as an emerging payment method and more. The Summit will feature an exclusive talk by Iyad Kamal, COO of Aramex, where he will announce the latest statistics on the MENA e- commerce market.

One of the most prominent regional success stories is online mass merchant that has recently raised a total of $150 million in investments and plans to use the funds to deliver the first billion-dollar Arab internet company. Ronaldo Mouchawar, CEO of, is among the featured speakers at the ArabNet Summit panel that will explore what it takes to build a global e-commerce business, with lessons learned from the region and beyond.

Some of the challenges facing e-merchants have been payment, where 70-80% (3) of online shoppers in the Middle East choose ‘cash on delivery’ as a preferred payment method. One of the region’s key online payment service providers, PayFort has implemented a zero security deposit on transactions for small and medium enterprises (SMEs), as a new feature to support the growth of the industry in the region. Omar Soudodi, Managing Director at PayFort, will discuss the region’s payment landscape in PayFort’s latest report on “The State of Online Payment”. The Summit will also feature a panel discussion on the disruptive potential of Bitcoin as an emerging payment method.

The upcoming ArabNet Digital Summit, taking place on June 3-5 at Atlantis the Palm in Dubai, will include Ad+Tech Academy, a full day of workshops on digital, social, mobile, and video advertising. The Summit is set to convene more than 1,000 executives, investors, entrepreneurs, and media from the four corners of the world. More than 130 speakers will gather during the event to discuss the latest digital opportunities shaping the Arab digital industry.

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