Saudi e-commerce to rise to SR9.9 billion in 2015 [Mubasher (Saudi Arabic)]
(Mubasher (Saudi Arabic) Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) e-commerce in the Middle East is expected to continue to show robust growth in the region, supported by the acceleration of m-commerce, Saudi Gazette stated citing PayPal report.
Mobile transactions already represents 10 percent of e-commerce (similar to the rest of the world), the report said, showing that with a 6 times growth in the next 4 years, m-commerce will represent close to 20 percent in the Middle East in 2015. This means that while purchasing via desktop/laptop remains dominant, there is a mobile mind-shift occurring with the rise of tablet and smartphone penetration.
In Saudi Arabia, e-commerce is projected to increase from $1.00 billion (SR3.8 billion) in 2012 to $2.70 billion (SR9.9 billion) in 2015. M-commerce in KSA is projected to increase from just under $0.10 billion (SR0.4 billion) to over $0.70 billion (SR2.6 billion) in the same time period, driven by a rise in sales through tablets.
Smartphone users constituted 26 percent of KSA mobile shoppers while Tablet users constituted 13 percent. Sixty six percent of KSA online users purchased online in 2012.
In Qatar, e-commerce is forecast to increase from $0.70 billion (QAR2.6 billion) in 2012 to $1.25 billion (QAR4.6 billion) in 2015. M-commerce is forecast to increase from a little bit less than $0.1 billion (QAR0.4 billion) to over $0.45 billion (QAR 1.7 billion) in the same time period, driven by a rise in sales through smartphones.
Smartphone users constituted 4 percent of mobile purchase behavior while Tablet users constituted 6 percent. 28 percent of Qatari online users purchased online in 2012.
In UAE, e-commerce currently stands at $2.90 billion (AED10.7 billion), and is expected to grow to $5.10 billion (AED18.7 billion AED) in 2015. From its current base supported by high smartphone penetration, m-commerce is predicted to grow to nearly $1.50 billion (AED5.5 billion) by 2015 and will be driven up by a rise in Tablet penetration and purchases. Purchases made on a computer remain the most dominant throughout the Middle East, especially to buy computers or airline tickets.
However, m-commerce is expected to grow in almost all categories within the three countries. 56 percent of total online shoppers in KSA make their online purchases from home or at work, while 55 percent do so in UAE and 90 percent in Qatar.
In KSA, smartphones are used to make purchases most frequently at home, in the office, and in transit while tablets are also used primarily at home.
In Qatar, growth in mobile sales will be driven more by smartphones than Tablet transactions. There is a high penetration of mobile devices in Qatar with over half of consumers already owning a smartphone (63 percent of online users own a smartphone while only 14 percent own a Tablet).
Retailers looking to grow their m-commerce footprint should focus on ensuring user-friendly experiences, taking into account variables such as screen size, and build on the convenience afforded by mobile devices. Incentives such as coupons could also help drive consumer interest in mobile purchasing.
Throughout the Middle East, smartphones are considered highly convenient but consumers say that using the device for purchasing leaves room for improvement, primarily due to the small size of the screen.
Therefore, smartphones are often used by consumers for immediate, on-the-go needs such as comparing prices in a store or to find store locations.
Consumers find that using tablets somewhat is more enjoyable for shopping online than smartphones. However, the main barrier to online shopping for Tablet users is the feeling of a lack of security during the transactions. Lack of user-friendliness is a primary barrier towards even greater adoption of mobile purchasing.
Forty eight percent of KSA consumers reported they would be very likely to make online purchases in the future if merchant websites became more mobile-optimized. Coupons could also be a way to help drive mobile shopping. One out of three consumers in Qatar claims they would be much more likely to buy on a mobile site with a coupon incentive. Similar behavior is recorded in the UAE where almost a quarter of the online users feel they would be much more likely to make purchases using their mobile if they had a coupon, while over one third of KSA online users have made the same claim.;
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