Even before the arrival of Covid-19, eCommerce in MENA was witnessing impressive organic growth of around 15-20 per cent per year Image Credit: Shutterstock

The third edition of the eagerly anticipated Visa MENA eCommerce Summit is set to take place on January 27; and never has the future growth of this sector been such a hot topic.

The global pandemic has accelerated what was already a growing trend. When millions of people had their movements restricted, the reliance on online services and shopping platforms took on an urgency that’s reshaped consumer behavior. Indeed, the digital arena has been a lifeline for many and as a result the situation has fast-tracked the consumer shift towards eCommerce. Analysts have reported that almost six years of digital maturity took place in just six months because of the health crisis.

Register now:  Visa’s MENA eCommerce Summit

With hygiene and safety restrictions expected to continue, and customers becoming even more sensitive to services that meet their evolving needs, online marketplaces are expected to provide ease, convenience, and safety during this crucial period.

Impressive growth

Even before the arrival of Covid-19, eCommerce in MENA was witnessing impressive organic growth of around 15-20 per cent per year, significantly outpacing other regions due to the high number of smartphone and internet users. At the end of 2019, the eCommerce market saw an estimated total volume of $15.9 billion (Dh58.7 billion) – in 2022, the market size is forecast to reach a whopping $48.6 billion.

The UAE eCommerce market has been on an upward trajectory for a while, driven by the demand for online purchasing by a young and tech-savvy population. The country comprises a high percentage of digital native millennials who are at ease with technology, and their expectation is for seamless and convenient low-touch commerce.

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The Visa virtual event will discuss the monumental strides the sector has made and how businesses are adapting Image Credit: Shutterstock

Social media shopping has begun to soar too, meaning businesses will have to embrace the eCommerce options of social media platforms. This is especially pressing as social media platforms such as Instagram, YouTube, Facebook, WhatsApp and others have begun introducing features supporting businesses on their platforms.

Insights into trends

During the virtual Visa MENA eCommerce Summit from 1pm-5pm, industry experts will discuss these drivers and share trends, while assessing the evolving economic landscape and how businesses and merchants can take advantage of these changing times.

The summit brings together Visa partners from the issuing, acquiring and merchant communities across GCC, North Africa, Levant and Pakistan to explore opportunities to further drive commerce in the online environment. The event will also provide details on actionable strategies and solutions that can enable sustainable growth.

There is much at stake, as illustrated by Visa's Covid-19 Impact Tracker – a survey of merchants and consumers across Central Europe and the Middle East and Africa region – which found that the Covid-19 outbreak led to around two-thirds of consumers in the UAE (68 per cent) and Saudi Arabia (66 per cent) shopping for groceries online.

Also, in June 2020, Dubai Economy, Dubai Police and Visa published survey results that showed that since the outbreak, the majority (61 per cent) of UAE consumers preferred online payments with cards or digital wallets over cash on delivery.

From a merchant perspective, Covid-19 dramatically showed the value in having an online trading presence or accepting digital payments. Put simply, merchants that adopted these online payment solutions better survived the impact of the crisis than those that did not.

Don’t get left behind. To keep yourself abreast of the latest developments and trends, be a part of the summit. Click here to register.