GCC – a unique market showing characteristics of both developed and developing markets

GCC countries have most of their population concentrated in urban centres. This helps the organized retail players to make a deeper reach out to the population, resulting in a high representation of organized players in retail. This characteristic of the high share of organized retail is in alignment with developed western countries.

Smartphone penetration in the region is high, making the population mobile-first for information seeking and shopping. This coupled with online retail penetration of ~3% is a characteristic similar to South-Asian countries.

Business Conglomerates in the region are driving high traffic and high customer visit frequency which is a characteristic similar to superapps; digital assets can be leveraged to create a superapp

Business conglomerates in the region have evolved to take care of customer needs by offering services across multiple businesses. These businesses observe high customer footfall and high repeat purchase frequency, which when seen from the lens of online players is the most critical parameter for a superapp in any region to grow.

Business conglomerates having a large portfolio with presence in shopping malls, grocery and entertainment – they will need a killer digital asset to anchor the superapp. Most conglomerates are already building digital assets and need to innovate on customer experience to develop an omnichannel superapp.


  • Sandeep is the Partner of Redseer Strategy Consultants looking at the Middle East and Africa. He has 13+ years of experience in consulting and technology.