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E-commerce: So hot right now
It’s seems to be on everyone’s lips: E-commerce. Internet retail. Online sales. Whatever you want to call it, it is set to explode in the region. Kipp takes a look.
August 4, 2010 4:18 by Sam Potter
At least eight new online shopping websites have launched in the UAE in the last year, says the National. It says that a slow internet, low credit card penetration and a lack of stores has held online retail back, but the sector is poised for huge growth as these barriers are removed.
The gradual acceptance of internet retail is mirrored in Saudi Arabia, according to Arab News. According to a survey carried out by the Arab Advisor’s Group, online shopping in the Kingdom has really been catching on with SR12.3 billion ($3.28 billion) being spent by online Saudi shoppers in 2008. The survey also showed that 3.5 million people, or 48 percent of the total Internet user base in the country, have purchased products or services online; 41 percent of these shoppers made these purchases using credit cards.
The lack of online retailers in existence makes the internet a potentially massive untapped market across the Middle East, and there are many straightforward opportunities for businesses. But thanks to the medium there are also countless unexplored avenues, as sites like Gonabit.com demonstrate.
The online shopping portal offers mega deals at Dubai stores, but the deals only become active if enough Gonabit members sign up to them, says Gulf News. According to the founders, “There’s a social element to online group buying, there’s something for everyone.”
Retailers in the UAE may not be ready to open new stores just yet, but they can still expand into a new and lucrative market.
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