Middle East Ecommerce: Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates

Middle East Ecommerce

The Middle East presents a unique opportunity for cross-border ecommerce brands.

Saudi Arabia – A Brief Overview

Saudi Arabia is the second-largest state and among the most attractive markets in the Middle East. Those entering the Saudi Arabia market must embrace COD payments. It’s home to a young, tech-savvy population with a median age of 26. The currency here is the Saudi riyal. The Saudi Arabian government will have invested over $100 + billion in the development of logistics infrastructure between 2010 and 2020.

Key stats:

  • 75% of the Saudi Arabian Population is 35 years or younger.
  • Over 60% of purchasing is split between Ryidah and Jeddah (Saudi Arabia’s two biggest cities) with the rest of the cities making up much smaller shares of online sales.
  • Home to 15.6 million internet users, 9.2 million of these are already online buyers.
  • Largest number of High Net Worth Individuals in the Middle East.
  • Ecommerce revenue to reach US$7 billion in 2021, and is projected to grow at an average annual rate of 5.38% until 2025.
  • Currently 28.4 million ecommerce users, expected to reach 34.5 million by 2025.
  • Saudi Post has introduced the Unified National Addressing System which covers the entire Kingdom and each of its parcels, buildings and constructions have been marked and addressed geographically with the standardized fundamentals and methodologies of the Saudi Post.
  • The country also has no taxes for citizens and has a very large middle and upper class, meaning there are a lot of individuals with high disposable incomes.

 United Arab Emirates – A Brief Overview

Perhaps the most talked-about opportunity in the Middle East, the UAE is home to a large expat community. With a population of 9.9 million (a number which has tripled in under 20 years) and featuring in the world’s most urbanized countries, this is one of the youngest populations in the Middle East and boasts an internet penetration rate of 96%.

Key stats:

  • 9.69 million internet users, with 6.8 million online buyers by 2025.
  • Highest smartphone penetration in the world.
  • Online buyers under 31 years of age represent 73% of overall online transactions and make up 64% of the population.
  • Ecommerce revenue expected to reach US$11 billion by 2025.
  • 60% of online shoppers are based in Dubai, with 6.8 million consumers based across the United Emirates cities.
  • The average revenue per user (ARPU) is expected to amount to US$1,616 by 2025