The e-commerce industry in the UAE is expected to hit the $10 billion-mark (AED36.7 billion) by 2018, indicates Mallfortheworld.com – a global e-commerce platform which enables customers in Africa, the Caribbean and Middle East to purchase products from over 200 UK and US retailers.
Regional retailers are in the process of consolidating their online presence in a bid to remain competitive and profitable. With the UAE’s current e-commerce value estimated to be around $2.5 billion (AED9.2 billion), analysts are optimistic that the region’s e-commerce market is on an accelerated growth trajectory.
The MENA region has been fascinated with mega malls for years now. But in the past couple years, people in the MENA region have shifted to online shopping more than anyone has expected. E-commerce trade in the UAE was at $2.5 billion in 2014 and is expected to touch $10 billion by 2018, a 400% increase over just four years. With such astounding growth, no wonder companies like MallfortheWorld.com is looking at the GCC and MENA as its next break-through hub, says Chris Folayan, CEO and Founder of Mallfortheworld.com
Sales and selection have been the key to e-commerce success in the region where fashion and apparel rank on top, followed by shoes and accessories and jewellery and watches, states MallfortheWorld.com.
With selection and sales driving e-commerce, many luxury brands are tapping into the wealth and high fashion trendy nature of the region. Brands like Chopard, Gucci, Prada, Versace, Coach, Breitling, Alexander McQueen, Chanel and Christian Louboutin, among others have physical stores and billboards across the UAE showing the amazing wealth these luxury brands want to tap into.
“But with the selection online, many of these are really showcase stores while people gravitate towards online stores for the sales, style and perks that come with buying items online. We anticipate growth in the luxury online e-commerce industry in the region to 300% in the next two years as we keep seeing a steady increase in luxury brand sales and desire,” opines Folayan.
Mallfortheworld.com is now urging UAE retailers to take advantage of the 3.6 hours the region’s consumers spend daily on social media to strategically position their products and brands in the market. UAE’s high smartphone penetration, currently at over 70%, has also been cited as one of the key drivers of ecommerce growth. This, according to Mallfortheworld.com, presents a golden opportunity for online shopping growth with 60% of UAE consumers having made a purchase with their smartphone over the last 12 months.