MENA: Brick-and-mortar retailers invest in ecommerce
In 2017, e-commerce in the Middle East and North Africa (M.E.N.A.) reached US$8.3 billion, with an annual growth rate of 25%. It is forecast to hit US$28.5bn by 2022. 80% of products available online in the region are electronics, fashion, lifestyle and beauty. Illustrated by the research paper issued by both Bain & Co. and Google, the region is fully connected for sophisticated e-commerce. As an example, the U.A.E. (United Arab Emirates) has an Internet and a social media penetration rate of over 90% (against 85% and 71% respectively in the U.S.A.). 78% of shoppers in the Middle East use social media to find ideas and inspiration, compared to 37% globally. Influencers charge social media channels an average rate of US$274 per post. This is highest rate in the world for a single post, compared to US$214 per post in the U.S.A. These figures explain why main retailers are investing in e-commerce, as convergence between online and offline businesses is established.
In November, Wadi Group which operates Wadi Grocery, the fastest growing online grocery delivery platform in Saudi Arabia was bought by Majid Al Futtaim, the developers of the Mall of Emirates, who also bought the U.A.E. mobile wallet app, Beam.