Dubai CommerCity (DCC), the first dedicated e-commerce free zone in the Middle East, Africa and South Asia (MEASA), has launched the second edition of ‘MEASA E-Commerce Landscape: B2C Products Edition’. Amna Lootah, Assistant Director General, DAFZA, and a Board Member at Dubai CommerCity, stated that the value of the e-commerce market will grow to $148.5 billion in the Middle East, Africa and South Asia (MEASA) by 2022.
This comes in line with the free zone's efforts to strengthen its position as a gateway for growth of the regional e-commerce sector through the emirate of Dubai. The report also aims to provide insights from experts and industry specialists in the free zone to enhance knowledge transfer.
The report provides a comprehensive overview of the e-commerce sector in the MEASA region with a focus on its activities and growth. It also analyses trends in 29 countries within the MEASA region and its expected developments within the next three years. The report offers regional and international businesses and entrepreneurs guidance on how to better benefit from the B2C MEASA market.
Amna Lootah, Assistant Director General, DAFZA, and a Board Member at Dubai CommerCity said: “The e-commerce sector in the Middle East, Africa and South Asia is witnessing a significant growth, which is driven by the confidence of its business community and ecosystem. This has also been led by the continuously changing consumer behavior and the adaptation of advanced technologies that played a key role in easing the overall consumer shopping experience. The MEASA region’s e-commerce market is experiencing a staggering CAGR at 18.4%, higher than the global 16.6% growth over the 2019-22 forecasted period, which represents a big opportunity for the region to benefit from the growing e-commerce activity. The report highlights regional growth, future opportunities and latest trends, which can guide SME’s and multinational companies on the right direction to benefit from and to expand their regional and global operations,”
“Dubai CommerCity aims to provide the business community with the latest insights, trends and statistics for the e-commerce sector. These reports support businesses in developing strategies to establish or expand their operations in e-commerce within the UAE and the wider region. This falls in line with Dubai CommerCity’s position as the first dedicated e-commerce free zone, which through its expertise, knowledge and industry specialists, supports entrepreneurs and businesses to achieve economic prosperity and growth in e-commerce,” Lootah added.
The report features interviews conducted with executives from top B2C companies in the region including Mr. Geoff Walsh, Country Manager DHL Express UAE, Mr. Hadi Raad, Regional Head of Digital Solutions Central and Eastern Europe, the Middle East, and Africa (CEMEA), VISA and Mr. Firas Ahmad, CEO Azam Pay who all provide firsthand insights.
The study shows that e-commerce has experienced a significant leap during the COVID-19 pandemic with the Gulf region witnessing a 214% year-on-year increase in cross-border online sales by mid-year 2020. Findings of the report indicate that the MEASA B2C products e-commerce market equates to 2.5% of the global B2C e-commerce market.
South Asia represents the largest sub-regional e-commerce market size, with India the largest country by e-commerce sales in the MEASA region, valued at $45.7 billion sales in 2019. GCC is the fastest growing sub regional e-commerce market over the forecasted period 2019-22, where Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates take the lead at 39% and 38% CAGR respectively. African markets are showing strong potential, covering at least 19% of the regional sales within the MEASA e-commerce market share in 2019. Nigeria is the second largest e-commerce market in the region at US$ 7.7 billion sales, with South Africa and Morocco also making it to the top 10 markets. Kenya is the 4th fastest growing economy at 36.6% CAGR.
The findings of the report suggest that the affluent, young population and cross-border e-commerce are the two strongest e-commerce growth drivers for the MEASA region. Other growth drivers include internet penetration, smartphone and social media adoption, government policy and ease of doing business. The evolving consumer demands and habits represent an important opportunity for the region to advance the e-commerce industry to reach international standards. This opportunity is further reflected with the United Arab Emirates leading many e-commerce related rankings regionally and globally including the highest global internet penetration at 99% and securing the 13th position out of 99 countries for ease of starting an online business ranking.
deVere Forster, Chief Operating Officer at Dubai CommerCity, said: “At Dubai CommerCity, we are committed to developing and providing advanced infrastructure and innovative logistics, e-fulfilment and shipping solutions to enhance trade within the e-commerce sector. We are working with our strategic partners to build a world-class e-commerce ecosystem, which helps businesses start up, expand and enhance their operations at a time when the sector provides promising opportunities.
“This report shows the potential growth expected to take place in the e-commerce sector. It will help local, regional and multinational companies to better understand the B2C product market in the MEASA region. It will also guide the regional government entities and industry bodies to explore potential developments that can better facilitate the e-commerce sector at a regional and global level,” Forster added.
The region’s high rankings have made it increasingly attractive to some of the leading global e-commerce players. The report presents a unique list of the top 100 B2C e-commerce companies operating in the MEASA region, offering B2C e-commerce products. The ranking is based on unique visitors from MEASA, and collectively the top 100 websites represent 1.94 billion unique visitors from MEASA. These companies are mostly based in the Middle East with 38 companies, Africa with 26 companies and South Asia with 15 companies.
Within the report, marketplace represent the highest number of companies on the list, with 32 companies, followed by electronics and fashion with 19 companies each. Next on the list is food delivery with 10 companies. Other categories with less than five companies include bookstore, home and furniture shop, sports and clothing, and others. Some of the leading companies from the United Arab Emirates include Sharaf DG, Noon, Namshi and Centre Point (Landmark Group).
For the MEASA region to become an increasingly competitive global player, the report suggests that there are key structural barriers that must be addressed at a government and industrial support level. The report devises five broad strategic considerations around key e-commerce barriers. These strategies include robust policy framework, consumer awareness and trust-building, logistics and postal services, digital infrastructure, and global collaboration.
Dubai CommerCity is the first and leading e-commerce free zone in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region. With an area covering 2.1 million square feet and an investment of around AED 3.2 billion, Dubai CommerCity is uniquely designed to cater to regional and international e-commerce businesses. The free zone provides a unique e-commerce ecosystem providing not only business setup solutions but also services such as e-commerce strategy consulting, guidance on e-commerce regulations in the region, end-to-end logistics and fulfilment solutions inclusive of warehousing and last mile delivery, complete e-commerce platform solutions, digital marketing services, and other e-commerce support services.
The free zone has implemented state-of-the art technologies to provide e-commerce players and investors with a smart and quality-focused ecosystem. Some facilities include high-end modern business community zone, clusters equipped with the latest technologies designed for e-commerce businesses and other high-tech features that will allow clients to establish and launch their businesses in the free zone efficiently and quickly.
Dubai CommerCity provides a holistic e-commerce ecosystem connecting logistics, electronic payment, and customer service providers. It will enable mega innovation trends like IoT, big data analytics, cloud solution and blockchain and offers simplified regulation and process, allowing major regional and international players to collaborate and leverage local talent to set a benchmark for the e-commerce industry.