Back in 2017, Amazon entered the Middle East by acquiring local competitor Souq.com for $580 million, the largest startup acquisition at the time. Since then, both Souq.com and noon have expanded across the region, as they are looking to serve more people. According to a recent report by Bain & Company, the majority of purchases still occur in retail stores, but there has been a shift to e-commerce, which will see considerable growth over the coming decades.
According to Stephen Anderson, clients and markets leaders at PwC, customers in the Middle East used to prefer brick-and-mortar purchases just 5 years ago, but now prefer shopping online. Moreover, they are more likely to shop through their mobile phones when compared to the global average.
“Customers in the Middle East have a bigger tendency to shop on their mobile devices as opposed to other channels, when compared to the rest of the world,” he said. Read more about the technology penetration in the Middle East here.