UAE online retail set for 95% growth by 2018

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More UAE shoppers are set to go online over the next five years.

More UAE shoppers are set to go online over the next five years.

Internet retail sales are expected to grow by 95 percent in the UAE over the next five years, according to new research from Euromonitor International.

It said the rocketing sales online would be driven by consumers in the UAE becoming more sophisticated and confident that online orders offer quality products, prompt home delivery and card security.

Internet retailing in the UAE will benefit from a "surge in consumer enthusiasm and confidence" to 2018, Euromonitor said.

Ayman Ghanam, research analyst at Euromonitor, added: "The internet, despite its comparatively low usage penetration, has already played a significant part in the Arab Spring and as a result the Middle East is expected to see massive growth."

"This trend will be encouraged by the growing usage of credit cards as consumers become more comfortable with buying online.

"With internet users in the Arab World tipped to reach over 170 million by 2016, internet retailing in the region is clearly set for staggering growth," he said.

Looking ahead, Euromonitor market research indicates internet retailing in the region is expanding across other channels, with new products such as home care and DIY and gardening recently gaining their first significant presence in internet retailing.

Players from the UAE have already started expanding elsewhere including Saudi Arabia where forecast growth over the next five years is 136 percent.

Euromonitor also said it expects this to be followed by expansion into other Arab countries such as Egypt.

Payments firm PayPal said in November it expects to sign up to 25,000 merchants and capture 10 percent of the MENA region’s e-commerce customers in the next two years following the launch of its local operation.

PayPal, which is now available in seven markets across the Middle East and North Africa, currently has 1m customers in the region but expects to grow “exponentially”, said Elias Ghanem, its regional chief.

The electronic payment network, which charges merchants a percentage of the purchase price, said it will look to sign up between 20,000 and 25,000 merchants in the region.

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