Which consumers in the Middle East buy the most from foreign web shops?

27 November, 2019

Istanbul city

Across the region, shoppers are discovering the greater variety and competitive pricing of shopping cross-border.

The e-commerce industry across the Middle East is growing fast, thanks to the high levels of internet penetration and rising GDP of many countries from Bahrain to Saudi Arabia.

Middle Eastern shopper habits:

  • Turkey: 55% e-shoppers with 2% shopping cross-border
  • Saudi Arabia: 79.9% e-shoppers buying from China, the US, Germany and the UAE
  • UAE: 60% of e-shoppers buy from other countries online
  • Israel: 64% of shoppers buy cross-border
  • Kuwait: Majority of imports come from the US and UK
  • Qatar: 67% of products ordered are purchased outside Qatar
  • Bahrain: 35% e-shoppers with 96.5% internet penetration
  • Morocco: Clothing, electronics, shoes and cosmetics most popular online purchase
  • Egypt: 38% of online purchases made using smartphones in 2017
  • Oman: 45% of shoppers shop online regularly

While many of the Middle East’s imports have historically come from China, increasing numbers of shoppers in the region are buying from further afield. Across the Middle East, Amazon and eBay are used just as frequently (and sometimes more) than local sites such as Cobone, Souq and Sukar.

Middle East top e-commerce import destinations: China, United States and Germany

Any strategy targeting ME shoppers must appeal to the large numbers of young shoppers in the Middle East.

The purchasing power of the ME region comes largely from an extremely young population; in Saudi Arabia, over 55% of the population are under 30. Young, digital-savvy shoppers are driving smartphone use in the region to over 65% and internet penetration to over 90% in the UAE, Bahrain and Qatar. As a result, m-commerce is growing steadily.

While under-30s in the Middle East are mostly purchasing clothing, electronics and jewellery online, another segment driving the growth of cross-border e-commerce in the region is parents. Mumzworld is the largest online shopping site for mothers, babies and children, growing from just four employees in 2011 to 130 employees and 250,000 products listed on its English and Arabic websites today.

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Selling to the Middle East

With a dynamic population confident buying online and keen to purchase the products they want cross-border, it’s no wonder e-commerce in the Middle East is growing fast; the region now enjoys one of the highest levels of online spending potential in the world.

As well as offering e-commerce businesses looking to expand in the MENA region our expert e-commerce solutions, Asendia’s partnerships with local carriers such as Oman Post to ensure we offer the best possible delivery options. Deliveries are fast, reliable and cost-effective for both you and your customers.

Get a quote for your international parcel delivery requirements to the Middle East today.