By Andy Sambidge
New study by Visa shows sales in UAE nearly four times that of Saudi Arabia in 2010
The UAE leads the way in the GCC for e-Commerce spending with sales close to $2bn, according to a new study by Visa.
The report, published on Sunday in partnership with Interactive Media in Retail Group International (IMRG), said the UAE's online spending equated to 55–60 percent of total GCC e-Commerce sales last year.
Total online spending by GCC consumers is estimated to be between $3-$3.5bn, and is expected to reach $5bn by the end of 2011, the study added.
Saudi Arabia has the next largest share of the market, with an estimated $520m, followed by Qatar ($375m), Kuwait ($280m), Bahrain ($175m) and Oman ($70m).
The Visa study said the UAE government was leading the way for e-Commerce growth with the Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA) helping to create a shopper-friendly e-Commerce environment.
Last month, the TRA announced the launch of a national electronic trust mark aimed at improving consumer confidence in e-commerce.
The TRUSTae initiative is focused on promoting the online retail market as "a secure and safe environment".
The number of people using the internet to make purchases in the UAE rose to 42 percent last year, up from 29 percent in 2009, according to a MasterCard survey on online shopping in March.
Kamran Siddiqi, general manager for Visa Middle East, said: “E-Commerce is without doubt one of the crucial drivers for the world economy, and increasingly the regions.
"With such a significant increase in internet usage, it’s no surprise that the internet is quickly becoming the cornerstone for business and communication, especially as the UAE is such an important financial hub.
"However, there’s still some way to go if e-Commerce in the Emirates and the wider the region is to meet its full potential.”
Stephen Leeds, e-Commerce business leader for Visa Middle East, added: “Online shopping is still in its infancy in the region but all the signs are there that it will continue to grow, such as government commitment, retailer investment and –most importantly – a young population open to trying new technologies and innovations."
However, he said there were issues in the GCC with the lack of trust and payment security regularly being cited as key concerns for people when choosing whether to shop online.
Internet usage in the region has grown by a staggering 1,500 percent since the year 2000, from a mere 1.2 million in 2000 to a massive 18.7 million in 2010, Visa added.For all the latest retail news from the UAE and Gulf countries, follow us on Twitter and Linkedin, like us on Facebook and subscribe to our YouTube page, which is updated daily.
One thing I would seriously advise anyone thinking of starting a website in UAE is to NOT at all bother using the local .ae domains. Whilst in principal you might think it is fine it is NOT at all safe as the Registry AEDA/TRA seem to have a habit of finding any possible reason that they can to cancel domains names without any proper process at all ,and without giving you any proper reasons . In other words you could spend years building up a business based on .ae only to find it disappear overnight for no apparent reason. BE WARNED. Conversely I have never ever seen any such problems with .com or .net. Stick to either of those 2 tld's and forget .ae .
I had some .ae domains some time ago (3 years roughly) for a friend's company who was interested in the UAE market. It was a really miserable experience. You could not, at the time, register online and had to go in person to queue at an etisalat (I think) office.
There they would explain you that they had so much work that they could not process the online applications.... truly amazing.
It may have changed now, but for sure I lost all interest in local domains.
Anyone can register almost any kind of domain in less than 5 minutes online for a much lesser amount. Oh well.
I wonder why you had such bad experiance, i have been using .ae for a long time with no problems at all. They don't like cybersquatters and their rules prohibit that. Maybe you have been registering trademarks? Can you give us examples please as your comment is not convincing.