The e-commerce market in the Middle East, Africa and South Asia (Measa) will grow to $148.5 billion by 2022 with the Gulf region driving this surge with a more than treble jump in online sales, a new study has revealed.

The study shows that e-commerce has experienced a significant leap during the Covid-19 pandemic with the Gulf region witnessing a 214 per cent year-on-year increase in cross-border online sales by mid-year 2020.

Findings of the second edition of e-commerce landscape report released by Dubai CommerCity also suggest that the Measa B2C products e-commerce market equates to 2.5 per cent of the global B2C e-commerce market.

Amna Lootah, assistant director general, Dubai Airport Free Zone Authority (Dafza), and a board member at Dubai CommerCity, said the e-commerce sector in Measa is witnessing a significant growth, which is driven by the confidence of its business community and ecosystem.

“This has also been led by the continuously changing consumer behavior and the adaptation of advanced technologies that played a key role in easing the overall consumer shopping experience,” she said.

Lootah said the Measa region’s e-commerce market is experiencing a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) at 18.4 per cent, higher than the global 16.6 per cent growth over the 2019-22 period, which represents a big opportunity for the region to benefit from the growing e-commerce activity.

South Asia represents the largest sub-regional e-commerce market size, with India the largest country by e-commerce sales in the Measa region, valued at $45.7 billion sales in 2019.

The GCC is the fastest growing sub regional e-commerce market over the forecasted period 2019-22, where Saudi Arabia and UAE take the lead at 39 per cent and 38 per cent CAGR respectively.

The findings suggest that the affluent, young population and cross-border e-commerce are the two strongest e-commerce growth drivers for the Measa region. Other growth drivers include internet penetration, smartphone and social media adoption, government policy and ease of doing business.

“The evolving consumer demands and habits represent an important opportunity for the region to advance the e-commerce industry to reach international standards. This opportunity is further reflected with the UAE leading many e-commerce related rankings regionally and globally including the highest global internet penetration at 99 per cent and securing the 13th position out of 99 countries for ease of starting an online business ranking,” said the report.

Lootah said the report highlights regional growth, future opportunities and latest trends, which can guide SME’s and multinational companies on the right direction to benefit from and to expand their regional and global operations.”

“Dubai CommerCity aims to provide the business community with the latest insights, trends and statistics for the e-commerce sector. These reports support businesses in developing strategies to establish or expand their operations in e-commerce within the UAE and the wider region. This falls in line with Dubai CommerCity’s position as the first dedicated e-commerce free zone, which through its expertise, knowledge and industry specialists, supports entrepreneurs and businesses to achieve economic prosperity and growth in e-commerce,” Lootah.

African markets are showing strong potential, covering at least 19 per cent of the regional sales within the Measa e-commerce market share in 2019. Nigeria is the second largest e-commerce market in the region at $7.7 billion sales, with South Africa and Morocco also making it to the top 10 markets. Kenya is the 4th fastest growing economy at 36.6 per cent CAGR. added. 


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