The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) has registered a record overall growth of 43% in e-commerce in the first quarter of 2014 compared to the same period last year, making it the highest growth rate in the MENA region, says Visa.
The overall growth was driven by increases in both domestic and cross-border e-commerce, which, according to Visa data, saw a 67% and 36% growth over the same period last year, respectively. Emerging as the leading categories for spending were general department store and airline transactions, followed by travel agencies, financial services and fashion retail.
“The Kingdom has been one of the leading markets in the GCC to have embraced electronic payments alongside rapid internet and broadband penetration, which has resulted in greater adoption of financial cards for e-commerce transactions,” says Ahmed Gaber, country manager – Saudi Arabia, Visa. “Growth of e-commerce in Saudi Arabia has also benefited from wider merchant acceptance, growth in the retail space and improved financial literacy among the wider population,” he adds.
An increasing number of banks in the Kingdom have also been introducing payment cards targeting specific segments of the market, including women, Sharia compliant cards and those aimed at frequent travellers.