Is MENA's Digital Economy Resilient?
Mokshita P.
10x Industry

Is MENA's Digital Economy Resilient?

Surge in Digital Payments, Shift from Cash on Delivery, and Security Concerns Shape the Landscape, Signaling Opportunities for Businesses.

In the rapidly changing landscape of the MENA region, digital commerce is booming, as highlighted in's recent report titled "The State of Digital Commerce in MENA 2024: A Tale of Rapid, Sustained Growth." The report unveils some impressive numbers, showing a 78 percent year-on-year increase in digital payment volumes since 2020.

Since the onset of 2020, has witnessed a surge of 658 percent in total processing value, with a 78 percent year-on-year growth between 2022 and 2023 alone. This surge reflects the region's accelerated adoption of digital commerce, fuelled by innovations like Automated Funds Transfer.'s expansion, including obtaining its acquiring license in the UAE in 2023, mirrors the overall upward trajectory of digital commerce in the region.

The report also reveals a significant increase in the number of MENA consumers engaging in e-commerce weekly or more since 2020, with a surge of 56 percent. Daily digital shoppers in MENA increased by 80 percent, with Saudi Arabia leading the pack with 180 percent growth in online shopping, followed closely by the UAE and Kuwait.

Moreover, MENA consumers are optimistic about their future online spending, with half of all shoppers anticipating an increase in their online spending over the next 12 months. Particularly in Saudi Arabia, where 53 percent of online shoppers expect to spend more in the coming year, showcasing the resilience and robustness of the digital economy in the region.

One significant trend highlighted in the report is the decline of cash on delivery in favour of digital payment methods. Over the past four years, the preference for cash on delivery has halved, indicating a broader acceptance and trust in digital payments, cards, and digital wallets. This shift presents an opportunity for businesses to streamline operations and reduce costs associated with cash management and shipping logistics.

Payment security emerges as a key driver of consumer loyalty, with an increasing number of respondents ranking it as the most important feature offered by an e-commerce business. However, concerns about payment fraud and false declines persist, with a third of all shoppers indicating they would switch to a competitor's website following a single failed payment.

Remo Giovanni Abbondandolo, General Manager for MENA at, emphasises the need for fintechs to optimise the e-commerce experience as consumers become more connected to digital shopping and payments. He highlights that a single failed payment can lead to a significant loss of customers, underlining the importance of payment performance in this dynamic landscape.

The report provides valuable insights for merchants, policymakers, and stakeholders looking to capitalise on the opportunities presented by this digital evolution.