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E-commerce in the MENA region

Jeanne Claire Walters - Senior Economist
Published Date: 15 September 2023


We consider the past performance and future outlook for the MENA region's e-commerce market:

  • The three years prior to the start of the Covid-19 pandemic saw strong growth in the MENA region’s e-commerce market, growing on average 26% y/y between 2017 and 2019. The limited use of online retail platforms in the region at the time meant that there was significant scope for expansion. 
  • The onset of the pandemic supercharged the move towards e-commerce. With online shopping becoming prevalent for the purchase of daily-use items, the MENA e-commerce market expanded by almost 80% between 2019 and 2020, to reach a value of USD 27.8bn. Growth in e-commerce was particularly robust across the UAE and KSA during the initial pandemic period. 
  • The MENA e-commerce market continued to grow after 2020, albeit at a slower pace. Annual growth averaged 15.5% between 2021 and 2022, with the size of the market reaching an estimated value of USD 37bn in 2022.

  • The key drivers of e-commerce growth in the region are likely to include demographic factors, interest from venture capital firms, and changes to payments technology. Many of the region’s governments have also put digital strategy initiatives in place, which should enhance customer experiences and further support e-commerce.

  • The future of e-commerce in the MENA region appears bright, with countries continuing to embrace technological advancements. 

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