1. MENA Online Retail Market – Comparable to emerging economies

The MENA market has grown significantly in recent years and its GMV has become comparable to other emerging economies such as India and Indonesia. This is primarily due to the higher AOV, along with consumer’s switching to online platforms during the pandemic. Despite strong cross-country differences, the pandemic has enhanced dynamism in the market landscape across countries and has expanded the scope of online retail. New players have entered, previously low penetrated consumer segments have started shopping online, and new categories have emerged stronger (e.g., groceries, health, etc.).

Note: 1. MENA GMV is of year 2021 and benchmark’s GMV of year 2020

2. UAE & KSA: E-tail penetration on the rise

As the pandemic reshaped the world, more consumers began shopping online in greater numbers and frequency. This in-turn has accelerated the shift away from physical stores to digital shopping which has resulted in a higher e-tail penetration rate in most countries. MENA online retail is led by UAE and KSA, whose e-tail market has grown significantly given that they have a lower base when compared to other economies.

Note: 1. Online Retail Penetration: % of online sales / % of overall retail sales

3. New business models make their mark

Non-traditional e-tailing models will see stronger growth in the coming years as consumers look for quick delivery, personalized experience, shopping integration with offline channels, etc. These channels include omnichannel, D2C brands, hyper-local, and vertical. Within categories, Electronics and Grocery players are majorly horizontal and omnichannel, whereas in fashion significant players are present in all channels. In recent years, many local options have made consumers shift from CBT to local players for online shopping.

Note: The above table is not exhaustive


  • 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.