The MENA region’s e-commerce industry has entered a period of stability and rapid expansion, offering more chances for e-commerce businesses.
Data from the report Digital Transformation in MENA 2022 by Checkout.com, a global leader in payment solutions, shows that the pandemic-accelerated e-commerce trends are here to stay. More than 15,500 consumers across the Middle East and North Africa were polled for the report.
In the past three years, the MENA region has experienced the fastest global e-commerce growth, with an estimated 209 million customers switching to online shopping during the height of the pandemic. Now that the lockdowns caused by the virus are over, more people in MENA are shopping online.
Around 91% of respondents, up from 87% in 2021, claimed to often purchase online, according to the survey. Additionally, more than half (52%) of MENA citizens went shopping more often this year than 47% in 2021.
Looking at the GCC on a more regional scale, we discover that 9% of customers spend money online at least once every day, representing a 50% rise over the previous 12 months.
With 88% of respondents across MENA indicating they will increase their online purchases over the coming year, these encouraging trends are expected to continue.
Parallel to this, we observe a rise in consumers spending money online in sectors like travel and tourism, events, and entertainment as the pandemic subsides. However, with a total of 45%, prepared food continues to be the top sector in which consumers spend their money online.
The demand for digital payments among consumers is still growing, following trends through 2021. According to the survey, 70% of consumers in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) want to use a digital payment method, up from 40% in 2020 and 60% in 2021, a 75% rise in just 24 months.
In the GCC region, where digital adoption is much higher, the percentage is much higher: 80% of GCC customers now prefer using digital payment methods.
These findings are consistent with the rapid expansion of digital wallets and payment applications in the MENA region, where 82% of customers reported using a fintech app in 2022, up from 76% in 2021.
In fact, there has been a steady rise in the use of digital wallets as the preferred means of payment over the entire region, with a 6 percentage point gain in just 24 months.
Particularly in nations like Egypt, Qatar, and Saudi Arabia, the use of digital wallets has nearly doubled. On the other hand, the use of Cash on Delivery (CoD) has sharply decreased in MENA, with a drop of almost 40% over the last 24 months.