1. Retail market in MENAP is worth USD 700 Bn with >65% of it contributed by unorganised retail channels

Retail market in MENAP is worth USD 700 Bn. While the GCC countries have a high contribution of organized retail, markets like Egypt, Pakistan, etc. are strongly dominated by the unorganized retail channel.

Retail market across MENAP, USD Bn, % Split by organized vs unorganized, by value, in 2020

2. The unorganized retail value chain is long and marred with numerous inefficiencies

The value chain of the unorganized retail market is long and consists of multiple intermediaries.

Both Brands/Principals and retailers who are the end links in the value chain face numerous challenges that limit the value creation for these stakeholders.

Retail Value Chain, Conceptual

Note: This is a simplified representation of the retail value chain. Typically, there are multiple intermediaries at the wholesaler and retailer level. For more detailed understanding, please reach out to us.

FMCG segment has the highest potential for eB2B to intervene. eB2B players can help brands with demand visibility at the retailer level, increase direct retailer penetration and help reduce retailer out of stock issues. For retailers, the procurement process can be made hassle-free with good prices and access to credit among other features.

Fashion is another category with strong potential for eB2B solutioning. The supply landscape in the unorganised fashion channel is extremely fragmented and eB2B players can greatly help discovery and access for retailers and suppliers alike.

Challenges faced by stakeholders in the Value Chain

3. A long list of eB2B players have sprouted up in MENA region solving for the inefficiencies in the value chain…

Numerous players have entered the eB2B market over the past 2-3 years and are multiplying in scale every year.

The opportunity is huge and the need for solutioning is extremely strong meaning multiple winners could emerge in this space.

List of B2B Marketplace players in the region (not exhaustive)

Note – Sources: Company websites, Crunchbase, data sourced from websites as of 14.10.2021

4. The choice of business model in eB2B is crucial and often boils down to one key choice – to enable or disrupt the existing eco-system?

There are few key choices that companies need to make while operating in the eB2B space. The more important of them is the choice between being asset-light vs adopting a marketplace model.

Other choices are around logistics, product portfolio, regional focus, pricing etc. All of these choices are interlinked and boil down to the core value that the company wishes to create for its customers.

Choices taken here also pose another key question which is a point of debate in this market – to enable or disrupt the existing eco-system? Reach out to us if you want to know our view here.

Business Model choices, Conceptual

5. The USD 1 Bn eB2B market is setting itself up for explosive growth with penetration levels <0.5%

The pandemic disrupted the existing supply chain for retail and retailers faced numerous challenges around procurement delays and unavailability of stock.

Furthermore, the product portfolio which was in operation over the years changed drastically, with newer segments around hygiene & health becoming a more sizable part of the consumption basket.

This posed the right moment for eB2B players to enter and help retailers with efficient procurement and also provide help around product portfolio. Hence 2020-21 was a landmark period for eB2B adoption and growth and the market has multiplied by 3-4x during this period.

However, this is just the beginning of the story. With penetration levels much lower than 0.5%, we could be looking at a USD 10 Bn opportunity unfolding in this space in the next 4-5 years.

MENAP eB2B trucking market size, USD Mn, 2020-25E

Note(s): 1. Market size here is rounded to closest whole number. For actual estimates and detailed breakdowns by country, category etc, reach out to us.

We at RedSeer have studied the eB2B market develop across India, Southeast Asia and MENA over the last 3-5 years in intricate detail. We’ve seen players scale up in no time and also sometimes fade out, despite being sizable at one point.


  • 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.